Depression is difficult to live with at any time of year. During the holiday season, it becomes even more challenging. We are bombarded with messages about the joys of the holiday season. The season of light can seem like a season of darkness to someone with depression.

What are the symptoms of depression? Overwhelming feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and sadness. Confusion and feeling trapped are also often reported.

Depression can be triggered by medical conditions, trauma, physical habits, and thought and relational patterns. It can be caused by numerous factors: biology, environment, personal expectations, and relationships.

Our biology requires healthy patterns of eating, sleeping, meaningful activity, and relaxation. Overload of any of the senses can also create havoc with our biology. The amount of natural light we experience, the ability to spend time in nature, and the amount of excessive noise we experience can soothe or tax our nervous system, resulting in symptoms of depression.

Expectations are formed by both real and virtual experiences, as well as comparison to others on social media and in the movies. We can believe that unless the holiday is perfect, we’ve failed.

Holidays remind us of changes in relationships, whether through death, divorce, or distance. During the holidays we may spend time with people we don’t know well, resulting in stress and awkwardness.

What can we do?

  • Maintain a healthy sleep and exercise pattern.
  • Eat healthy foods and enjoy small portions of high-fat/high-sugar food.
  • Spend 15 quiet minutes a day in natural light, observing nature.
  • Avoid comparison. Treat each experience on its own merits.
  • Remember those who are isolated. Reach out in person, or by phone, zoom or mail.
  • Practice graciousness in group settings. Be thankful for everything. Laugh.

f you’re suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to Safe Harbor Counseling.  They’re here to guide you on your journey toward a healthier, happier life, visit