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Friday, 9 December 2016

Blogmas Day 9: Christmas Blues - Facing Christmas with Depression

Hi Everyone,
As I am sure you're aware by now, I love Christmas. It's my absolute favourite time of year.
However I do suffer from bad depression, I always have done, which you can read about HERE. So even if I want to be happy at Christmas, it doesn't always happen!
December is such a busy time of year, there's so much to get done and lots of people to visit. So although I love Christmas, I find it quite stressful and this can effect my depression and anxiety.
I wanted to write about ways I cope with depression at Christmas. Although the following suggestions don't always take away those feelings, they can help a little, or distract me for a time. I thought I'd pop them in a blog post in case they help someone else. A lot of them are just common sense, but sometimes I think we need a reminder to take a step back and look after ourselves.
1. Don't force it.
When those drowning feelings of depression strike, it's hard to fight your way back up to the surface. The last thing you might want to do is put on a Santa hat and go to a Christmas party. If you're not feeling Christmas, then you really don't have to join in. It doesn't make you a Grinch or Scrooge and nobody should try and guilt trip you into joining in. If you don't want to go to a Christmas meal/party you don't have too. Nothing bad will happen, it's just one day after all!
2. Don't take on too much.
If you are hosting at Christmas or organising something for yourself and other people, don't try and take on too much. Please ask someone to help you out. It's not worth making yourself ill over by being bogged down with stress. 
3. Breaks.
On Christmas day or on the lead up to it, if you are around other people and you feel anxiety or depression rising, make your excuses and leave the situation if it will help. You could either take a little break on your own to focus your thoughts or go home. Whatever's best for you. Clearing your head by taking yourself in a different room or for a walk can help when it's all getting on top of you.
4. Looking after yourself.
If you're feeling low make sure you're looking after yourself. Don't neglect yourself and your well being in all the stress. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating enough? Eating right? Drinking enough water? Having down time? Etc. Have a bath with candles, watch a film, read some blogs, read a book, create art, write... I am not for one minute suggesting these things will take away your depression, but sometimes we neglect ourselves when we are feeling depressed.

5. Christmas Shopping.
If the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is going to make you ill try and eliminate some of the stress. Can somebody go for you or go with you? Can you get it online? Could you just give people money?
6. Pressure.
On the subject of money, Christmas lasts a single day. It is not worth over spending then adding to your depression by having a huge debt to pay off next year. It really is the thought that counts. I made a post of quite inexpensive beauty gift ideas HERE that might help. Failing that, do you have a talent? Make something, that way it will be special and personal.
7. Perfection.
It is not your responsibility to make everyone else's Christmas perfect. You don't need to impress Family members, in-laws, friends even strangers.
8. Be honest with yourself.
Make sure you keep in check with yourself. You can do this by writing your feelings down. You don't have to do it every day and you don't need to write an essay, but jotting down your thoughts really can help you realise how your truly feeling. I've had some huge realisations before just by writing down thoughts when I am depressed.
And finally, if you feel helpless and on the edge this Christmas please talk to someone. If you feel there is no one you can talk to, I've left the number for the Samaritans below:
  • 116 123 (UK)
  • 116 123 (ROI)

  • jo@samaritans.org
    To my fellow Mental Health warriors, I really hope this post helps a little.

    Love Roar Dinosaur!
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