One obvious way to avoid being depressed is to be aware of situations that might cause depression. For example, certain places might remind you of an ex and make you feel gloomy. Even if you can’t escape the feelings of depression, it helps to know what’s coming. In many cases, people aren’t aware of a looming depression and can get sucked under easily, especially during the holidays, when everyone is expected to be merry and joyful.
You can’t necessarily avoid the holidays or the time after, but being cognizant of some of the triggers of holiday and post-holiday depression or just increasing your awareness can lighten the load. For example, after the holidays, know that you will be disappointed in some cases, but focus on what went well during the holidays and how you can improve unpleasant circumstances. Some common triggers of post-holiday depression can be the loss of money from overspending, the failure to start or complete resolutions and returning to a normal routine. However, once you’re aware that these can be triggers, you can try to avoid them in the first place or learn to deal with them in a healthy way.
Carol Goldberg, a psychologist based in New York, mentioned the feeling of grief when spending the holidays without a loved one, and how to view it as a trigger and be aware of it.
“If you anticipate that you miss your parents or a spouse or a boyfriend or whomever you’ve lost…realize that the holiday is going to be difficult but you’ll get back to what your functioning was before the holiday after it,” Goldberg said.
She said that for those who have chronic depression, they might be able to anticipate a worse time during the holidays, especially if it’s been a past experience. With this anticipation, those with chronic depression can prepare by seeing a psychologist more often or adjusting medication if needed.
Elaine Rodino, a psychologist in Pennsylvania, said that awareness is the best way to avoid post-holiday depression.
“The best way…is being aware of it,” Rodino said. “Being aware that issues can happen, can come up.