For many, the holidays are a difficult time. If you are experiencing increased anxiety or depression, you are not alone. Here are some tips for making it through:

1.  It is okay to excuse yourself from activities. However, there can be a fine line between needing alone time and isolating yourself. Ask yourself if the reason you don’t want to attend an event is because you are avoiding something, or if you just need to be alone. Sometimes getting out and being around other people can be a healthy distraction. 

2. It’s okay to tell people the holidays are difficult for you. You are being genuine and real with people. However, be prepared that someone may ask why you aren’t feeling good. It’s up to you whether you want to disclose that or not. It’s also okay to say “I don’t know.” Make sure you also talk about things other than how you feel. Sometimes we can get an increased feeling of being “stuck” when we talk about how bad we feel. 

3.  If someone asks you how they can help, tell them. If you need a hug, ask for it. If you’re not sure what you need, tell them that. 

4. Volunteer. When you help others, you focus on something positive. Altruism (helping others without expecting something in return) has been found to increase your “feel good” brain chemicals.

5. Watch your alcohol intake. You may find that you are drinking more during the holidays. It may be due to the fact that more people are drinking around you during this time of year, or you may be drinking to soothe and relieve how you’re feeling. If you feel your drinking is interfering with your daily activities or health, talk to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health clinician. 

6. If money problems are an issue, it’s okay to tell family and friends that you need to scale back this season. Get creative with other ways you can give gifts. Propose that the family trades names and buys one gift for the holidays. Remember, people appreciate gifts from the heart more than expensive store-bought items. 

7. Don’t buy into the holiday hype. The holidays have become very focused on consumerism—that somehow you can buy your way to a “perfect” holiday season. That is just not possible. No one has a “perfect” holiday seaso, but there are a million ways to have a good one. 

8. Get enough sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. If insomnia is a problem, see a doctor. Sleep deprivation can cause a person to feel even more anxious or depressed. 

If you are feeling suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or

Copyright 2013 Sarkis Media LLC

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