For many people, Christmas is a joyous time. But for those suffering from depression, the festive season can be yet another challenge. So, here are some tips on how to stay positive and beat depression over the Christmas break.
1. SOCIAL SUPPORT
Studies show that having a support system is one of the most powerful ways to combat depression. So, if possible, don’t be alone, surround yourself with loved ones. If you’re depressed, your instinct may be to hide, but research shows that being with family and friends means the likelihood of depression is lower.
2. VOLUNTEER
For those away from loved ones over Christmas, volunteering is a great way to feel good about yourself while helping others. When we focus on helping people in need we are less likely to think about our own problems. Volunteering locally gets you out, meeting different people and will also make you feel more involved with the community.
3. SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Manage your expectations. Despite what we see on the TV or in the movies, the perfect Christmas simply doesn’t exist. Don’t ‘beat yourself up’ over mistakes or oversights and remember that it’s OK not to feel festive all the time! Set realistic expectations and treat yourself to a stress-free Christmas
4. EXERCISE
Get active during this holiday break! Exercise is known to have a positive effect on people with depression. Being physically active can help improve your mood by releasing endorphins into your body. What’s more, exercising outdoors can increase the happy feelings while supplying your daily dose of vitamin D. A great way to motivate yourself is by signing up for an event, such as a charity run. This gives you something to train for and encourages commitment to regular exercise.
5. GET HELP
If none of this helps and you’re feeling more than the typical “Christmas stress” or are having suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek help immediately. Samaritans volunteers will be available 24/7 across the UK this Christmas. Call for free on 116 123, or visit www.samaritans.org