“Christmas is for me, not an easy time of the year. Everyone expects me to be sociable. It is a such ‘happy time,’ but what if I don’t want to be happy and joyous? I end up feeling guilty.
Everyone demands my time and to 'do things.' If I try to explain how I feel, others just don't understand. I hate Christmas music.
It is not that I don't love my family; I do. I just hate the emotions that Christmas stir. I feel dreadful.”
For some people, holiday depression is genuine. At Largest Heart, we thought to focus in this blog on how to break free from holiday depression and overeating.
Why holiday depression?
A true definition of holiday depression is hard to pin down. Depending on who you're talking to, symptoms can differ.
Holiday depression can be caused by tiredness, stress, worries over money, lack of energy, the over-commercialization of the season, and more.
For some people, eating makes them feel better – at least for a while. It is, therefore, no surprise that holiday depression and overeating can go hand in hand.
All is not lost. There are ways to break free. It just needs a little mindfulness.
- Make it easy on yourself.
If it is not there, you can't eat it.
If you know you are prone to holiday depression and overeating, plan.
Have the right sorts of food at hand when you need it. If there are no chips or chocolates in your home, you can't eat it, even if you want to.
Make and freeze low-calorie foods ahead of time. Arrange your life so that it is set up for success.
- Keep a food journal.
A food log can show you over time, not only what you’ve eaten, but it can also identify your habits. If you get in the habit of adding a note to your 'unhealthy choices,' you can perhaps detect a trend.
Did you argue with someone? Had a bad day at work? Your emotional state can dictate your eating habits.
- Try to keep your symptoms under control.
There is no shame in asking your doctor for help. If you feel especially depressed and anxious over the Christmas season, your doctor can prescribe something that might help.
You can also use other coping strategies, such as trying not to isolate yourself too much or sharing what you feel with a friend or family member.
- Know these tricks
Control the circumstances – don’t rely on your willpower alone.
- Never eat in front of the television.
- Move healthy alternatives to the eye-level shelf in your refrigerator
- Use smaller dishware – the bigger the plate, the more you will eat.
Do you have someone who struggles with their mental health over Christmas? You can help break the cycle of self-defeat. Anyone can learn to love holiday music.
Be patient and reassure your loved one. Encourage the person and say that you can look for help together. Be willing to be a listening ear.
Don't ever say 'Pull yourself together.' For some, it is just not possible. Instead, get practical with your solutions.
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