How to Survive the Holidays with Depression

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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The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Don’t let depression hold you back. Find out how to survive the holidays with depression for your best holiday ever. Click To Tweet

Don’t forget to check out the kickoff post, 50+ Ideas to Jump Start Your Holidays, to see the schedule for all of the 12 Days of Holiday Ideas Blog Hop. Plus get inspired for your holiday season with DIY projects, recipes, and games while you’re there!

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.

Holiday Depression Survival Guide Printable

Plan Early

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.


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.

Enlist Help

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.


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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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How to Stop Being Depressed After the Holidays

The holidays are exhausting, especially for someone who already suffers from depression. Afterward, even those without any mental illness can suffer from depression and anxiety. If you’re feeling depleted right now find out how to stop being depressed after the holidays.

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Guard your time, recharge yourself, and start recuperating from the holiday stress with these tips for how to stop being depressed after the holidays. Click To Tweet

I always look forward to the holiday season. After they end, I am beyond depleted and stretch thin. I basically feel like hibernating. Since that’s not an option when you’re a stay-at-home mom I’ve found other ways to cope.

Growing up, we lost my grandma when I was about 10. After that, we pretty much stopped getting together for the holidays. This meant 1 Christmas, at home, with my immediate family and occasionally some friends. This meant that I didn’t realize how big of a toll the holidays could take on me until I got married.

Suddenly I went from 1 low-key Christmas to 5+ celebrations over the course of a week. Afterward I would spiral so badly that I literally would cry in a corner rocking back and forth. It took a few years before I even recognized the correlation and another 2+ to figure out how to manage it. Now I’m sharing how to stop being depressed after the holidays with you in hopes that you don’t wind up sobbing in a corner too.

Please keep in mind that I am not a medical or psychology expert. I’ve simply spent years dealing with depression and learned some tricks along the way.

Why You Feel Depressed After the Holidays

Most research boils down to the fact that you are over-extended during the holidays. “During the holidays, there is an increase in the number of activities, tasks, and social events that people must manage.” (Forbes) The demands on your time, energy, and finances takes a toll on your well-being. When you finally get a break after the holidays, you’re beyond depleted.

Think of your body like an engine running hot. If you keep it running full-speed you run the risk of blowing the engine. The same thing goes for you. If you keep pushing yourself too hard, for too long, you end up blowing yourself up.

This feeling is further complicated if you spent more than you meant to over the holidays, added a few extra pounds, or don’t get along with family members. Now, in addition to being totally depleted, you are also packing guilt, remorse, and bitterness that you can’t process effectively in your current state. Ugh.

Be Like Oprah with Your No’s

There are so many things that we feel like we have to say, “Yes” to over the holidays that it is exhausting. After the holidays are over, it’s time to be like Oprah with your no’s. You get a no, you get a no, everybody gets a no. For at least the first week, if not longer, don’t feel bad about taking time for yourself. You’ve pushed yourself past the brink in the last month. If you continue at that pace it is going to end with you spiraling down in a hurry.

If a friend wants to catch up over coffee after the holidays, let her know that you’re recharging and ask to schedule it in a few weeks instead. Ask hubs if he’ll handle the kids’ after school activities for a week. Tell your mom you can’t talk to her on the phone for an hour. Whatever it is that you need a break from, speak up.

It took me a lot of years to get to a point where I am open and honest about my needs, especially after the holidays. We shuffle around to so many different gatherings, there are presents to be bought and wrapped, you are talking/visiting with a lot of different people… it definitely takes its toll. I let family and friends know that I’m going to be more difficult to get in touch with for the first week or so after the holidays. Admittedly, a lot of people don’t understand it because they don’t suffer from depression as I do. However, I know my own mental health needs and they can deal with it.

Woman Writing in Journal

How to Recharge Yourself

There are a myriad of ways to recharge yourself after the holidays. It depends on the individual what works best. I, for instance, really need a total break from family and friends. I push myself so hard to be perfect for everyone and it’s exhausting. After the holidays are over, I need to return home and simply stay there for a few days.

A lot of recharging yourself takes knowing you really well and some trial and error. If you need help with ideas on how to recharge, don’t worry. I have you covered:

Oprah No’s

I know that we covered this above but it’s that important. Stop feeling obligated, especially after the holidays, to say yes to things you don’t have the energy to do, don’t enjoy, or that stress you out.

Enjoy the sunlight when you can

The winter means less sunlight which can also affect your mood. When the sun is out, try to enjoy it. This could mean going for a walk or simply reading by a bright window. Again, choose what’s best for you.

Try out one of your new gifts

We are so busy as moms during the holidays that chances are you haven’t even tried out your gifts yet (except for that rad disappearing TARDIS mug that held your coffee this morning). Take a day or even a few hours to bust one open and enjoy it.

Get some extra sleep

Another thing that helps after overextending yourself is to get some extra sleep. Try taking a mini-nap during the day or go to sleep when the kids do a couple of nights. I promise, this is the best way to let your body heal and recuperate.


Getting lost in another world is another excellent way to recharge. Read a new book or reread one of your faves. Time spent reading is never wasted.

Side Note:

I finally got the last 2 books in the Autumn series so I have restarted it from the beginning to read it all the way through. If you like zombies and survival you should totally check them out.


As someone who hates exercise that doesn’t seem to serve a purpose (ie: walking just to walk instead of walking around an amusement park all day), I totally get any aversion to this one. However, exercise is a fantastic, healthy way to boost serotonin and leave you feeling better. Force yourself to get up and moving, even if it’s just to dance around the house, and you will feel better for it.

If you find yourself truly spiraling after the holidays and have any thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 . If you hate talking on the phone, you can also text now. Text CONNECT to 741741 in the U.S. or 686868 in Canada.

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Guard your time, recharge your mind and body, and start recuperating from the holiday stress with these tips for how to stop being depressed after the holidays. Don’t forget to keep those Oprah No’s in your back pocket. Pull them out for everything that doesn’t help you feel better this time of year. What other ways do you recharge after the holidays? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments!

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Why SAHM Need to Unplug Weekly

In this day and age, we are on our technology more than ever. Our televisions are on day and night. The first thing we do in the morning is check our phones. Even when you don’t realize it, this kind of unchecked technology use is draining you. That’s why SAHM need to unplug weekly.

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We use technology more than ever. You may not realize it, but this kind of unchecked technology use is draining you. That’s why SAHM need to unplug weekly. Click To Tweet

I am lucky enough to not spend a lot of my time on social media unless it’s for the blog. However, I am super guilty of too much TV use. It feels like it is always on in the background, even when we’re not watching it. Until recently, I even used it to help me fall asleep. It’s totally embarrassing how much TV we watch.

My Denial

What’s ironic is that I have rules in place to help the day go smoother. For example, we don’t turn on the television before school because the kids were getting ensconced in the shows and losing track of time. This led to too many days of missing the bus or being dangerously close to doing so until finally, I said enough is enough.

For too long, I’ve told myself I don’t need better boundaries with my technology use because I don’t waste hours online watching YouTube or scrolling through Facebook. When I started trying to find additional time in my day, I started doing some tests. I set very specific TV boundaries for myself and found that my productivity shot through the roof.

I went from struggling to write 1 blog post a day to writing or outlining 3 or four. I started getting my cleaning done more quickly. The amount of time I had to complete these tasks didn’t change. However, when I was focused on the tasks without the background distraction of the TV, I worked more quickly and efficiently.


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Benefits of Unplugging

Getting more done is only one benefit of unplugging. Even if your family aren’t big television watchers but you find yourself getting lost on Facebook or Pinterest while your kids play on their tablets. You husband spends hours after work playing video games multiple times a week. If any of this sounds familiar, no doubt your entire family can benefit from unplugging weekly.

Reclaim Your Time

The first benefit of unplugging has been the most beneficial for me and that is reclaiming your time. Think about how much time you waste on social media, watching TV, checking your phone or the myriad of other ways you waste time with technology.

If you make it a point to consciously unplug once a week, you will find that you have a lot more time for the things that matter. That can be spending time with your family, taking time for yourself, and even reconnecting with your husband.

More Meaningful Connections

Too many of our interactions are distracted by technology. When you take the technology out of these situations, you will pay more attention during family dinners, holidays, and time with friends. More importantly, you’ll also be more likely to connect in real life.

When you aren’t getting the false ‘connection’ through social media, you are more likely to reach out to connect with friends and family in person. That coupled with spending the time together technology free also leads to deeper and more meaningful connections with the people that mean the most to you.

Help With Your Productivity

As I said above, when you’re focused on the task at hand without any distractions, you are more productive. In fact, it has been found that unplugging at work helps you be more productive too (Fitness Magazine). When you stay off of email, social media, and turn your phone off at work it allows you to get focused and efficient work done.

If it works that well in a work setting, think about how well it can work in your home. It is so easy to fall into unhealthy routines as a SAHM especially because there is a lack of external forces structuring your day. Turn off your phone and other electronics during important tasks to increase your daily productivity.

Get Better Sleep

Getting off of technology at least an hour before bed can help you fall asleep faster and more easily. If you need the distraction of television to keep your mind from running at night, try getting a small CD player and play music. You can also try reading a book before bed to help calm your mind.


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How To Unplug Weekly

The benefits of unplugging weekly are all fine and dandy, but how to you actually do it. Here are 4 tips to help you start unplugging from technology weekly.


Setting healthy technology boundaries is just as important as setting boundaries in other areas of your life. Unfortunately, technology boundaries are more difficult because you aren’t just pushing against the boundary intrusion by other. Instead, you are fighting against your own habits which means that it is much harder to stick to them.

Make the process easier by starting with the next tip:

Start Small

If you find yourself really struggling to unplug, start small. Set a rule, for example, that you can’t use any technology before 9 am or after 8.

Even that might be a struggle at first. If that’s the case, then break it down even further. Create the rule that you won’t have technology on during play time with your kids. Another option is to turn it off during meals or while cleaning. Whatever makes sense for you and your schedule.

Pick a Day

Ultimately, your goal should be to get to an entire day that is tech free. Choose one day a week that you will disconnect completely from your phone, social media, television, and video games. Ideally, choose a day that your family is regularly unscheduled so that you can spend it together. It is a game changer for your family and the relationships you have with each other.

Keep in mind, that having a tech free day doesn’t mean you stop enforcing the other technology boundaries you created. Instead, this is in addition to. I still recommend keeping technology off during important tasks during your day and an hour before bedtime.

Make It a Family Thing

Speaking of choosing a day to be technology free when you can spend it with your family, get your family involved. Set rules about technology use for everyone. No electronics at the dinner table, have everyone be tech free on your chosen day, keep the TV off at night and spend some time together. Whatever it is, include your family in it. Not only with this help your family build stronger connections with each other, it also helps your kids develop healthy habits for the future.


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Too often we convince ourselves that we don’t have a technology problem. We don’t spend hours watching cat videos on YouTube or playing video games like our husbands and kids. I’ve totally been guilty of this. The truth is, you likely have some technology vice, so-to-speak. That’s why SAHM need to unplug weekly. It will help you identify your technology crutches, make you more productive, and improve the quality of your relationships. Think about how awesome that would be then work to make it happen.

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How to Rediscover Yourself After Marriage and Motherhood Series

  1. Introduction
  2. Why All Moms Need a Journal
  3. Determine Your Why for Self Discovery
  4. Find Your Cheerleaders
  5. DIY Positive Affirmation Cards
  6. Create Your SAHM Hierarchy of Needs
  7. The Hard Truth About Carving Out Me Time
  8. 5 Awesome Podcasts to Inspire Self Discovery
  9. How to Love Yourself First
  10. Stop Reacting to Life and Live Proactive
  11. How to Set and Protect Boundaries as a Mom
  12. How Moms Can Stop Being People Pleasers
  13. Why It’s Okay to Outgrow Relationships
  14. It’s Time to Break-up with Yourself
  15. Create a Mini Mom Oasis for Recharging
  16. Why Moms Should Date Themselves + How to Do It
  17. How to Get Your Free Time Back as a SAHM
  18. Turn Someday into Today
  19. Why You Should Throw Out Your Clothes
  20. Rediscover Your Old Hobbies
  21. How to Find New Hobbies You Love
  22. How to Create a Daily Self Care Routine
  23. Shut Down Your Negative Self Talk
  24. How a Haircut Can Help You Find Yourself
  25. Make a Bucket List You’ll Actually Complete
  26. Unique Alternative Ideas to Help You Find Yourself
  27. Why SAHM Need to Unplug Weekly
  28. 10 Mom Date Ideas You Can Do at Home
  29. 10 Mom Date Ideas to Get Out of the House
  30. Embracing Your Weird as a Mom
  31. How to Practice Mindful Reflection