Do's and Dont's to Avoid Holiday Depression

November 25, 2011 Jack Smith

So I found some tips to counter holiday depression in a WebMD article. Clearly, the article’s author is not depressed and does not have anxiety issues.

If you are like me, events with large crowds make you anxious. During the holidays, they can be especially daunting if you are the only one there not drinking. That’s why the first tip, “do socialize” is almost funny. When I am depressed, I’d rather have bamboo shoved under my toenails than “socialize.”

I agree it’s not good to isolate during the holidays, but if big crowds make you anxious, get together with a small group of friends for dinner instead of a cocktail party.

Taking a Brisk Walk Helps Reduce Depression

Another tip? “Do exercise every day.” This one, I can’t take issue with. I’m not going to do it, but I can’t take issue with this one. Exercise always makes me feel better…when I can make myself do it. That’s the hardest part. If, by exercise, we are counting going for a brisk walk, that’s a little more realistic for some of us this time of year.

Still another holiday depression buster in the article is the admonition to not watch television. That’s just crazy! No TV? No football? No Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? No “Christmas Vacation” for the 47th time?

“Most programs are not designed to make you a better person, or even feel better,” the article says. True, but Seinfeld re-runs always make me laugh, and there is enough good college and pro football on this time of year to keep your mind off your trouble for hours. Watching movies is an even better escape for me…it’s one of the few times that I can really slow down those racing thoughts and unplug mentally.

The final tip that made me chuckle is the “don’t spend so much.” The author obviously never had kids. The older your kids get, the smaller the gifts get. Only they get more expensive. Our second child’s Tickle Me Elmo cost maybe $30 and we got at least a year out of it. Now they want a $300 video game. Sorry, but “don’t spend so much” is not a very helpful tip. Besides, the economy needs our help, right?

Beware of Cocktail Season

cocktail_120x180Since I’ve shot down three of the four helpful “tips,” let me offer my own in the spirit of wanting to help people.

  1. Beware of cocktail season. A little alcohol may help you relax, but drinking a lot will almost certainly make your depression worse.
  2. Watch as much football as you can. It’s the best sport in America. If you can identify with a team without becoming obsessive about it, pulling for a team can be fun. You feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
  3. Don’t overbook. Say no to some parties if you get invited to too many. Say no to your family if you have to. Take extra time off from work around the holidays if you can. Make some time to do nothing. Literally.
  4. Do something for you and only you. Get a massage. Or a pedicure. Or go to Starbucks, get a Venti holiday drink and just read the paper or people watch.
  5. Do listen to holiday music. It’s one of the greatest mood changers I know of.

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2011, November 25). Do's and Dont's to Avoid Holiday Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Jack Smith

November, 26 2013 at 12:09 am

Thank you for advice on does and don'ts for the holidays. I love to watch the holiday shows (Elf, is my favourite), the familiarity of watching them each year brings a sense of tradition and knowing what to expect has a calming effect. I didn't realize that was therapeutic until you mentioned watching re-runs of old shows like Seinfeld. I also get out for a walk in the woods with my dog everyday regardless of the weather and that is the highlight of my day. Watching that big shaggy dog romping in the snow brings me joy no matter how bad the rest of the day is. Thank you

Mariah Shipp
November, 29 2012 at 8:00 am

Good advice, I try to get a walk in everyday! I also listen to MP3 downloads for relaxation and stress management. If you are really depressed or are grieving make sure you get to a support group or your spiritual support in some way!

Deltra Coyne
December, 1 2011 at 4:20 am

Great advice. I like that you mentioned "do something for you" as well as doing whatever makes you feel good when you're down (Seinfeld and Golden Girls reruns are my personal faves)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jack Smith
December, 2 2011 at 6:09 am

Also check out He puts up three mini-clips daily. They always make me laugh! Thanks for visiting and come again!

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