At Christmas time, many people are susceptible to feelings of depression for various reasons. I often have bouts of depression because of memories surrounding Christmas that are very negative and painful. While I am not a professional counselor, I have used the following to help me conquer the depression that haunts me at Christmas:
- Talk to someone professionally. It is very healthy for you to speak about your depression to someone you can trust. You do not want to keep all of your pain and negative emotions bottled up where they grow and fester. This will only perpetuate the depression and make it worse. If circumstances do not allow for a paid professional, then find a trusted family member or friend.
- Go to church. Take time to be in the house of the Lord during this joyous season. You may have had special traditions with your loved ones that involved church at Christmas. Going to church could be difficult and may exacerbate the depression. Try to go anyway. The joy you will gain by going will far outweigh the struggle it might be to go. The message you will hear from the pastor will touch your soul and be a light into your darkness. The worship service will also add warmth to the cold parts of your heart that is experiencing pain at this time of year. Just remember, you are not alone; God will be with you.
- Participate in positive activities focused on someone else. This can look like anything you want as long as you are giving back to someone else who may be less fortunate than you. Volunteer in a soup kitchen; adopt a senior citizen from a nursing home and buy them gifts for Christmas; or donate items for a food basket for a family in need of a Christmas dinner. I am sure you can think of other things too. Taking the focus off yourself and your depression and placing the focus onto others will help diminish the pain you are feeling in the middle of your depression.
- Do something fun! It is imperative that you do something that you enjoy that will keep you connected to yourself as well as to other people. In the middle of your depression, the last thing you want to do is isolate yourself from other people. I understand that it may be hard to be around a lot of people. Try to take baby steps and be with trusted people.
Enjoy this very special time of year!