Alone and Depressed During the Holidays

Image: Winter by Alphonse Mucha
Winter by Alphonse Mucha

Dealing with clinical depression during the holidays can be difficult, to put it mildly. If you’re going to be facing the holidays alone and you have depression, the situation may seem like more than you can bear. By Christmas Eve, your depression voice might be telling you that you’re a sad loser – unless you come up with some countermeasures. Keep these thoughts and suggestions in mind:

  • If you’re alone because someone close to you has died, or because your marriage or relationship has ended, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  • Ask yourself – are you actually okay with being alone during the holidays, but feel that you should be spending it with other people? We’re all bombarded with images of happy families spending time together during the holidays. Remember that as wonderful as it can be to be with family, it’s also very stressful.
  • Don’t tell yourself that it’s not worth decorating or cooking when it’s just you. What’s wrong with decorating your place or cooking a special meal just for yourself? Chances are that doing the holiday activities that you’re used to doing with family or friends will give you a lift.
  • Don’t hide the fact that you’re spending the holidays alone from acquaintances or colleagues. If you’re frank about it, there’s a good chance that someone will invite you over for Christmas dinner.
  • Don’t drink. Alone and drunk is not a good combination. Chances are that you’ll become sadder and more depressed.
  • Line up a special treat for yourself, like a museum visit, a concert or something else that will get you out of the house and make the holidays memorable.
  • Do some of the things that you did as a child, like watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or driving around looking at holiday decorations or making Christmas cookies.
  • Remember, you don’t have to be alone at the holidays. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
  • Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. Volunteer your time to serve or deliver holidays meals for people in need. Ask your local hospital if the children’s ward needs volunteers to read to the children who can’t go home for the holidays.
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