Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Move Forward Logo

Managing Depression during the Holidays

Managing Depression during the Holidays

The holidays are upon us.

Chances are you will soon be knee-deep in wrapping paper, lists, bills, cards, party invitations…and recipes. Your head is spinning from all the things you must get done – get done NOW and get done well.  Let’s stop for a minute. Look around and take a deep breath. Put things into perspective. The holidays are not all about the goodies or the gifts. It is about being together and doing good for others.   

10 Tips for Managing Depression during the Holidays

Consider ten tips for managing depression during the holidays.  It is also the time of the year when depression is rising — people are missing loved ones or feeling the sting of times past. Not to mention the weather — less sunlight and cold temperatures forcing you indoors can significantly contribute to managing mood. So, what could you do to ward off the holiday blues? To embrace the simple joys of the season?  Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Stick to regular routines as much as possible.

If you take a dance class every Monday night or participate in a book club or other activity, keep it up. Switching things up too much can make things more stressful. Plus, healthy activity is good for you. 

2. Get enough sleep.

You want that holiday card to be perfect, but do not sacrifice sleep editing your photos. Your family and friends need you more than they need your picture. 

3. Take time for yourself.

We stress this a lot in counseling, and there is a good reason. Spending time doing things that make you happy helps you healthily manage stressors and allows you to be your best. 

4. Eat and drink in moderation.

It might sound fun to eat all the cookies or drink all the rum punch, but it will make even the simplest tasks harder when you don’t feel great the next day. Don’t turn to alcohol if you feel down — it usually worsens things. 

5. Get exercise.

A simple walk around the mall or using the stairs can increase your heart rate, which can do leaps for your mood and immune system. 

6. Make a to-do list.

Lists can help you manage everything you have to keep track of during the season. It will ease your stress and allow you to put the millions of things going through your brain on the back burner and take time for you. 

7. Be reasonable.

Please don’t overdo it. If it is going to be too much to cook and host a holiday party, then maybe host and ask others to bring a dish. Be realistic about your time and stress level, and remember it is ok to say NO. 

8. Set a budget.

Letting things get out of control this time of year is easy. With a budget, you can avoid that dreadful bill opening moments and feel confident.

9. Relax.

Spend time with those you care about. Listen to music or movie-watch with your kids. 

10. Do something nice for someone else.

It will make you feel good and help another family have a happier holiday season. 

How to Get Support

This time of year can be what you make it. It can be joyous, but it can also be full of sadness and anxiety. Accept that it is ok to get help if you need it. Our counselors have openings if you need someone to help put things into perspective and teach healthy coping skills. Please call 717-462-7003 ext. one or write to to schedule an appointment. 

Managing Depression during the Holidays Resources

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

  • 800-662-HELP (4357

988 Crisis Line

  • Text or call 988


More Posts

The Quarter-Life Crisis

The Quarter-Life Crisis: Life after College Graduation  Hopes & Expectations  An example of the quarter-life crisis is your hope to graduate from college, expecting to find