When Grief and Depression Show Up for the Holidays Part 2

coping with the holidays

When Grief and Depression Show Up for the Holidays Part 2

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who are grieving or struggling with depression. The increased stress of the season, family gatherings, and commercialism can be overwhelming.  For some, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but for others they can be a time of loneliness and sadness.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays, with its emphasis on celebration and family togetherness, can be overwhelming and painful.  The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or simply being far from home can make the holidays a difficult time. 

For many people, the added stress of the holiday season can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, overspending, and drinking. This can set the stage for a pattern of unhealthy coping that can have negative consequences for both our mental and physical health.

If you are coping with grief or depression during the holidays, here are some tips that may help. 

  1. Don’t try to do everything. The holidays can be overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with grief or depression. The joyful atmosphere can be overwhelming and depressing, and the added stress of family and social obligations can be too much.  Take some time for yourself and don’t try to do everything, especially all at once.  Pace yourself and take time for yourself.
  2. Reach out to friends and family. Talking about your feelings can help you feel better.  The holidays can be a lonely time, so reach out to family and friends who will listen and support you.  You can lean on them for emotional support and practical help with holiday preparations- it’s ok to ask for help even if you have thoughts telling you otherwise. 
  3. Be active. Exercise can help improve your mood.  Try to get active and go for a walk or jog outdoors.
  4. Take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.  Doing something that you enjoy can help take your mind off of your grief and depression.  It is important to be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, including taking time for yourself, resting, and eating healthy foods.  Make a list of things that make you happy and do them regularly. This can include things like spending time with friends and family, taking walks in nature, listening to music, or reading your favorite book.
  5. Get organized.  The holidays can be overwhelming when there are so many different demands.  Oftentimes, the key to managing your time and energy during the holidays is through organization. Decide what you need to do and when you need to do it.  Make a list of your priorities and consider the time frames necessary to realistically complete one of them each day.  This will help to reduce the amount of stress you feel.
  6. Set realistic expectations. The holidays can be a time of joy and celebration, but they can also be a time of stress and anxiety. Remember that you do not have to participate in all of the traditions and activities that you have done in the past. You can choose what feels right for you. 
  7. Celebrate the holidays in your own way. Don’t feel like you have to celebrate the way others celebrate. Do what feels right for you.

It may be the right time to reach out to a professional if you are needing additional emotional support during this time.

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We look forward to being of assistance and will do our very best to help.

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Visit our Art Therapy website to learn more about how Art Therapy can help you or a loved one cope with a wide range of issues: https://www.arttherapynj.com/. Read our latest blog here: https://www.arttherapynj.com/blog


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