Tips For Combating Holiday Depression During Covid-19
Even during normal years, holiday stress can pose great challenges for those of us with depression and anxiety. In 2020, we face additional challenges since our normal coping strategies to mitigate holiday depression, such as connecting with family and friends may not be possible during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Holidays take an emotional toll on everyone, and it’s important that we reframe our expectations in 2020 because for most of us the holiday season will not look the same this year.
Our Experienced Team of Psychiatrists Can Help!
Our highly-trained psychiatrists and therapists offer a comprehensive and confidential approach to private, outpatient psychiatric care for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Whether this is your first time seeking psychiatric care or if you are seeking a new provider, Novum Psychiatry can help. In-person and telehealth appointments available. We accept health insurance.
Focus On Your Physical and Mental Health
Being away from family and friends during the holidays can be hard.
This year we can refocus on ourselves by ensuring that we eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, reduce or avoid alcohol and other substances, and get regular exercise. Exercise and diet can go a long way to reducing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sadness during the holidays.
This unique year means that we can get a jump start on those New Years health resolutions!
Here are our top tips for maintaining your physical and mental health during the holidays:
- Stay Active – Even if you can’t visit the gym, you can get a daily workout in at home using any number of countless apps, website subscriptions, and free on YouTube.
- Get Enough Sleep – Most adults need between 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Research shows that an adequate amount of restful sleep improves our immune system. In addition, sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety and depression. If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep due to anxiety or depression, make an appointment with a psychiatric provider about strategies and treatments for improving the quality of your sleep.
- Diet and Nutrition – Make it a habit to eliminate or reduce your fast food and processed food intake. Try the Mediterranean Diet. Caffeine, sugar, energy drinks, alcohol, and processed foods can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Connect, Give, Play, and Self-Care
It may be hard to imagine right now, but the pandemic will end. The holidays will pass, and with recent news of a vaccine, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s ok if you are struggling right now. It’s normal to feel lonely, frustrated and worried about life during this unprecedented time. Take time for yourself this holiday season to take care of yourself, donate your time, relax, and connect with friends and family.
Donate Your Time
It can be very rewarding to donate your time to those in need during the holidays, and it is especially helpful if you are facing the prospect of a lonely holiday season.
Search for volunteer opportunities in your area. When you volunteer and give your time, you enjoy a sense of accomplishment, and meet new people. Taking small steps to be accountable to get out of the house on a regular basis can be very helpful for depression.
Connect With Family and Friends
Social connections are the most protective factor against depression.
Take time daily to connect with someone – a family member, a friend, or a neighbor. We have so many ways to connect now – but oftentimes a regular phone call (or Facetime chat) is the closest thing to an in-person visit. If the weather is nice, make a date with a friend to take a walk – combining social activity with physical activity is almost guaranteed to lift your spirits.
Play Games, Watch Funny Movies
Pay attention to how much time you spend on social media. Several studies have indicated that the prolonged use of social networking, such as Facebook or Instagram, may be related to signs and symptoms of depression. Instead, try and play games with family members or online, or kick back with a great comedy.
Have you thought about taking up a new hobby? Some of the best hobbies for anxiety and depression are photography, listening to music (try a new genre!), writing, drawing, painting, arts and crafts, dancing, yoga, hiking, and cooking.
This year is unique and there is help available. If you are worried and struggling with depression, anxiety, social isolation, or other challenges this holiday season, the providers of Novum Psychiatry are here to help.
We offer in-person and telehealth appointments for Massachusetts residents, and accept health insurance. Please get in touch with us for a confidential evaluation.