Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Dealing With Sadness, Loneliness And Depression At Christmas

Depression is an awful illness, and whether its clinical depression or brought on with circumstances, such as a bereavement, divorce, or work stress, at Christmas things can feel even worse.

I used to be a Registered Mental Nurse and I know how hard it can be for people at Christmas. Although everyone is different, here are suggestions of things you can do that could possibly help, if you or others you know suffer from sadness, loneliness and depression at this time of year. 


Self-help techniques


Don't expect perfection

You may feel like everyone is having a perfect Christmas, but that's just not the case. Nobody's life is perfect so have realistic expectations. Expect some arguments if you have family get-togethers, it's only natural if you have a group of people together. It's good however to avoid trigger topics that you know always cause upset.

Avoid excesses of alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant so avoid binging on alcohol which can make symptoms worse. If you are going to have a drink, make sure you eat first so that it doesn't affect you so fast, and have soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks.

Get some exercise

The benefits of exercise on mood is well documented so if you can, get out into the fresh air and get some exercise. Physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.

Plan for over the Christmas period

Planning what you are going to do especially on days which you know could be trigger points can help. Perhaps there is a film or show on Netflix that always cheers you up or a book that you really want to read, so sort it out in advance so you can indulge when you are feeling low. Maybe you feel better when you are around other people, so check out what family and friends are doing. Maybe there is an online support group or online friends that can help when you are feeling down so check when they are around over Christmas.

Do something for others

Doing good for others can make you feel good too. Maybe there is someone in your street that is lonely at Christmas, why not invite them around for a slice of Christmas cake and a cup of tea, or take some items to the local food bank to help others less fortunate. You could also ask if your charity shop needs any helpers too.

Allow yourself to be happy

Allow yourself to laugh and be happy. If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, they wouldn't want you to be sad, they would want you to get on with your life. It isn't easy for sure but allow yourself to be happy don't feel guilty if you find yourself enjoying some moments over the Christmas period. 

Carry on with the tablets

If you have been put on anti-depressant medication and you feel it isn't working don't stop suddenly, as you may get withdrawal symptoms, instead make an appointment to see your doctor who may review the medication, adjust it or put you on a different medication.

Consider ongoing therapy


You may want to consider therapy if you can't work through your emotions. Therapists are people who are licensed practitioners of mental health care and can help you with mental health problems, family issues and life challenges. Your GP should be able to refer you and, as well as one-to-one therapy in person, you could consider online therapy from a company such as BetterHelp.com which uses licensed, trained and accreditated counsellors.  

If you are feeling desperate


Remember it's good to talk. Talk to someone you trust like family and friends, that can offer support when you are feeling down.

If there is no one you know that will listen, there are organisations that can help you when you are feeling like this too. The Samaritans are always at the end of a phone line, phone calls are free just ring
 116 123,  and its open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don't have to be suicidal to talk and they offer a non-judgmental ear, someone who will listen at any time. You can also call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment and call 111 for out of hours support and help.

If your life is in danger, for example, if you have harmed yourself seriously or have taken an overdose, call 999 or go straight to A and E.

I hope these suggestions are helpful, I wish you a happy and healthy Christmas!


*Collaborative post

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11 comments

  1. There is nothing worse than feeling low and lonely, especially at Christmas as it is such an isolating time of year. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Very important post! I know I get SAD during the winter and the pressure of Christmas this year is tough. I definitely drink too much and the day after is always hard.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, SAD is a very real condition. Have you tried a light box?

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  3. Great tips, these. I get SAD during the dark winter months too - I find exercise really does help.

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  4. This is so important! People forget you can be depressed even at the happiest times!

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  5. I think people always forget about exercise around Christmas time because it's so cold outside and there are mince pies and Christmas drinks at every turn. It's important to make time for it though!

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    1. Even if its just a stroll. Exercise has so many benefits and it will help with you to digest that big Christmas meal too.

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  6. These are really great tips, and so important for people to be aware of. Especially at this difficult time of year x

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  7. Christmas is an awful time of year if you are struggling with depression. These are all great tips for anyone suffering or for anyone supporting someone who is.

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