Across Australia, it is estimated that one million people will be dealing with depression at Christmas time.
And it’s no surprise really… with festive occasions, Christmas trees, gifts and celebrations, comes a myriad of emotional triggers caused by feelings of loneliness, grief, sadness, self-reflection, excessive spending, drinking and fear of socialising.
For those with depression, Christmas can often be the season they would prefer to avoid. But for those with family and friends who celebrate the event, that’s not always an option. So, here are our top tips to try to control what you can and let go of what you can’t, during the silly season.
- Identify your main stressors. Is there someone specific you miss? Is there someone or something specific that stresses you? Does your financial circumstance cause you distress? By pinpointing some of the things that get you down, you can try to organize yourself so that you avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything going on around you.
- Think about the things that bring you peace and contentment and whatever those things are spend more time doing them! In a lot of cases, that old adage “fake it until you make it” holds some truth. Obviously, you can’t entirely avoid triggers of depression, but you can try to balance out your feelings and emotions so that you can experience some degree of peace and calm every day.
- Be realistic and real. Manage your expectations – knowing what or who you have to cope with – and be true to yourself. Don’t do things that you think will make other people happy, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking that other people will change for you. Avoid known triggers, and put yourself first.
- Start planning early so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Shop for gifts as early as possible and if you can, shop on line for the best deals. Stick to your budget and avoid overspending.
Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be a commercialised celebration, it doesn’t have to be lonely and it doesn’t have to be fraught with family tension. By taking the time to think about what triggers depressive feelings and emotions, you can attempt to put strategies in place to avoid them, or at least minimise their impact.
We at Sydney TMS, understand how overwhelming Christmas can be and we hope that you will take some time out to treat yourself during the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Enjoy a safe Christmas and happy New Year from all of us.