San Francisco based psychotherapist, Michael Halyard offers some professional, practical advice for beating the holiday blues. Halyard notes that people often become overwhelmed by high expectations of holiday celebrations with family and friends that in reality don’t turn out as planned. But, with a little planning ahead and realistic expectations, the holidays do not have to be a difficult time.
Strained family relationships, consuming an excess of alcohol, food and even drugs can lead to depression and misery during what should otherwise be a joyful time. Halyard suggests surrounding yourself with positive people, planning gatherings that you feel at peace participating in, and avoiding people with whom you have strained relationships. Additionally, attempting to avoid the hype we see in movies and advertisements about how wonderful the holiday season should be can help minimize feelings of loneliness or depression.
However you choose to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, if you are prone to depression during this time of year, get support from family, friends or a professional therapist. Also, volunteering to help someone less fortunate than you can do wonders for your soul and your outlook on life.