Holiday depression is pretty common. There are big expectations, there are let downs, there is usually family fighting or some sort of isolation. All these raw and real emotions usually are backed by long-lines in the grocery store, overly cheery people at work and countless amounts of buttery cookies and holiday music.  It isn’t easy to deal with depression in general, but then having to work through it when everyone is “up” for the holidays, well that can be too much to handle on your own. I highly suggest everyone take on at least a weekly mental health counseling session, even one online or self-guided, to help cope through the holidays and deal with depressive tendencies.

The good news here, however, is that you can reduce stress and manage your depression during the holidays. I have put together some tips, listed below, to help you keep things in perspective as we head into the holiday season this November 1st. Remember, asking for help is empowering to your being so if you feel these tips are falling short when it comes to your personal situation, please seek out resources or contact me for help!


  • Revisit your expectations
  • Modest expectations – vs what you think they’re supposed to be like
  • Do something different – change things up – Christmas at a restaurant, or in a cabin; thanksgiving with popcorn and a movie
  • Get support – line up friends and activities – volunteer
  • Support yourself emotionally
  • Don’t assume the worst
  • Forget the unimportant stuff
  • Volunteer
  • See your therapist, if you have one
  • Take a break from perfection
  • Family / friend matters
  • Head off anticipated issues by being proactive
  • Get spouse/partner/friend to help
  • Let go of what you can’t control
  • Make new family  traditions – no gifts for instance
  • Figure out positive ways to remember loved ones not present – go to Mom’s favorite restaurant and toast her
  • Parties – don’t overbook or stay longer than you want; and do bring a friend
  • Gifting – get what you can afford and stop fretting about what’s perfect; try shopping online
  • Physical Self-care
  • Stay on schedule
  • Exercise
  • Eat well,
  • Drink moderately
  • Get adequate sleep

Just as you prepare gifts and food for the holidays, it is important to prepare for a change in mood, too. The holidays can bring a lot of trauma and drama up.  If you prepare, follow the tips noted above, and seek out supportive mental health services, you can find yourself swimming through the holiday season with a smile on your face and a jingle in your step!


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