The holidays are a magical time full of family, love, and parties. Unfortunately for moms with depression, this also translates into overwhelm and spiraling as the obligations feel like they’re piling on top of you. These tips for how to survive the holidays with depression can keep you from the fallout of the holiday chaos.
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Depression is hard to deal with even in the best of circumstances. Add in all of the pressure of the holidays and you push yourself too far. That leads to more bad days throughout the holiday and at the end of the season you are physically and emotionally exhausted.
Make a plan now to avoid the depression spiral later with these helpful tips and ideas. Your future self will thank you. P.S. Grab a free printable quick-reference guide here.
Planning early is two-fold. First, get activities in your calendar now for ways to recoup from holiday stress. Choose things that recharge you and, most importantly, MAKE them happen. Remember that these activities are just as vital as any other holiday obligation.
Second, decide early when events are happening and which ones you will attend. Don’t try to do it all and cram your calendar so full that you don’t have breathing room.
- It’s totally okay for hubs and the kiddos to go to some stuff without you and let you have a break. If you had the flu you wouldn’t be expected to go to that holiday party. This is the same thing.
Make a Budget
Financial guilt during and after the holidays affects people without depression greatly. Coupled with depression, the guilt can be crippling. Avoid that by making a budget and sticking to it. Don’t wrack up mountains of credit card debt trying to please everyone and do it all.
Need some tips on how to save money during the holidays? Check out Making a Plan for Your Holiday Spending!
Don’t Miss Out on Sleep
If parties and family gatherings interrupt your sleep schedule during the holiday season, schedule in time for naps and days to sleep in. Work it out with your husband to get up with the kids on his days off so you can catch some extra zzz’s. Load the kids up in bed with you with a movie and make it a family nap time to get that blissful rest your body needs.
Soak Up Sunshine
Resist the urge to hunker down this winter. Take advantage of activities that get you out of the house and in the sunshine when it’s available. This can be as simple as taking a walk through your neighborhood or building a snowman with your kids. Simply find things that will get you soaking up that happy light as often as you can.
No Guilty No’s
Let Go of the Guilt of Saying No. Everyone’s party, cookie exchange, caroling excursion is important to them, but you have to put yourself first. Don’t feel pressured to do everything. If helping out at the school party is important to you, maybe skip Karen’s cookie baking party this year.
If your extended family or in-laws have multiple holiday gatherings, talk to them about which one is most important to them. Let them know that you cannot make each one but will attend the gathering that is most important to them. This is a great way to cut down on obligations without hurting feelings.
Yes, supermom, you can totally make the food, buy and wrap the presents, and loving write and address 50 holiday cards but you don’t have to do it alone. Enlist the help of your spouse and kiddos to make the process easier. Work it out with other moms to take turns carpooling kids to practices so you can catch a breather.
Let Go of Perfection
I am very guilty of building grandiose ideas in my head of the perfect holiday with my family. Then, when it doesn’t work out that way I struggle to cope. Temper your expectations and don’t try to plan the “perfect” holiday. Enjoy the time with your family and don’t get too bogged down in details or a unrealistic time-line you’ve made in your mind.
You don’t need the perfect gift, perfect decorations, or the perfect Hallmark Christmas experience. When you find yourself getting bogged down in this self-imposed pressure, remember that all your friends and family really want is a happy and healthy momma. The greatest thing you can do is take a deep breath and think about what the season is truly about: love and gratitude.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Don’t let depression hold you back from that. Keep these tools for how to survive the holidays with depression handy and enjoy your best holiday season ever. Want even more awesome holiday survival guides? Check out all of the ideas from my friends below!
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