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While the holidays are usually exciting and fun for the whole family, they can also be depressing for some people. The holiday season is naturally stressful because of all the preparations that need to be done, but they can also bring out some bad memories. It’s no surprise that some people aren’t exactly bursting with holiday spirit.

If you’re feeling depressed or exhausted, there are a few ways to deal with it healthily. Depression is a mental health condition that isn’t cured by simply “cheering up”. On top of consulting your doctor and taking medications, here are other ways to make the condition more bearable.

Identify the Source of the Problem

It’s easy to say that “the holidays” are stressing you out, but there is usually a deeper reason why you are feeling this way. Sometimes it is just the expectation of feeling merry and generous. People compare their emotions to what they assume others are experiencing or what they are supposed to feel—and then they get stressed out when they fall short. They judge themselves and feel like an outsider.

Holiday depression can also be related to your finances. Not having enough money to buy gifts or host dinner parties can lead to feelings of frustration or even shame. When you can’t afford to celebrate, it can feel devastating.

The stress of shopping and planning when you are already overworked can feel exhausting.

It can even be because of loneliness. Did you know that a whopping 43 percent of Americans are single and 27 percent of Americans live alone? When others are with their families, it can be very painful for those who are alone.

Grief, divorce, and estrangement are also major factors that can cause or worsen someone’s depression. Missing a deceased loved one is painful at any age. Similarly, going through a divorce can be tough especially during the holidays because it can remind you of happier times and accentuate your grief.

During the holidays, women are at twice the risk for depression than men because of greater expectations when it comes to planning, shopping, and cooking. These burdens can make women feel more depressed during the holidays, whereas there is little expectation for men to do the same.

Plan in Advance

Anticipating stress can help you soften the blow of the holiday blues. Putting off decision-making only adds enormous stress to you later on, so it is better to prepare as early as possible. You want to know in advance whether or not you will be spending the holidays with anyone, and if so, who it’s going to be.

Try to assess whether you absolutely want to celebrate or not. Depending on your current situation, it may either help you feel better or just make you more stressed. Whichever you choose, plan your next course of action right now. Shopping early gives you the chance to save more money and also allows you to wrap packages ahead of time.

Ask for Help

There is no shame in admitting that you are not having the time of your life, even if it’s during the holidays. And there is no shame in asking for help from your family and friends. You are not alone, and you do not have to deal with it all by yourself. Even if you are grieving, you can ask for help from medical professionals, therapists, counselors, and countless other people who can give you the support and advice you need, whether it’s in the form of medications or just a listening ear.

Shame prevents people from opening up, and it, therefore, eats them from the inside. Do not allow perfectionism to get you down.

If you absolutely need to, spend some time alone to reflect and grieve—but once you’ve done that, seek help and do not isolate yourself any further.

Look out for the signs of depression: feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt, exhaustion, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, social withdrawal, and changes in sleep, weight, or appetite.

Rehabnear.me is an excellent sober resource for those who are also struggling with addiction. If addiction and depression affect a person at the same time, these co-occurring disorders need to be treated simultaneously by medical professionals.

Here at LivnFresh, we care about you and your needs. Don’t let the holidays get you down and keep you from seeking the help you need.