The holidays can bring out the best and worst in us. Instead of joy and peace, some people experience depression.

People who are depressed may feel sad, hopeless, or uninterested in daily activities like taking care of your family or going to work or school. This may be particularly difficult to navigate during the holidays when we stretch ourselves too thin with commitments.

  • Take time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in “what needs to be done” and completely forget about taking care of yourself. Even a short break can help you refocus and avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Have realistic expectations. Sometime our expectations are set so high in our mind that it is almost impossible to reach or sustain. There will be highs and lows to every holiday, which is a typical holiday experience for just about everyone.
  • Simplify when possible. Holiday events don’t have to be extravagant. Choose to simplify dinners with a potluck or buying prepared desserts instead of making homemade. Likewise, simplify your gift giving by planning a budget. Although it may be difficult, sticking to your budget will help you avoid post-holiday buyer’s remorse.
  • Make healthy choices. Although the season may be marked by overindulgence, making healthy choices will go a long way to keep you from being too depressed. Drink in moderation, if at all. As tempting as all those holiday beverages are, alcohol can exacerbate depression.

Catholic Charities Counselor Toni Durda advises that exercise is a great way to combat depression. “If the weather permits, go walking and even enjoy the Christmas lights,” Durda says.

“Most importantly remember this is a season of love and forgiveness, so the greatest gift you can give is to be gentle with yourself,” Durda points out. “Love and forgive your shortcomings.”

Remember that depression is treatable. If you or someone you love is depressed, contact Catholic Charities and schedule an appointment with one of their counselors. Catholic Charities has a counseling office in North Central Phoenix at 1825 W. Northern Ave. Rates are offered on a sliding scale based on income. For more information, call 602-749-4405.



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