Holiday Depression: avoid these 5 mistakes and stay depression-free

Once you’ve learned to beat holiday depression, you’ll have the freedom to enjoy Christmas without any of its pressure affecting you.

YOU are in sole command of how you want to spend the holidays, at the end of the day.

A lot of the holiday depression comes, because of social and family obligations.

But the holiday season is a choice. No one can force you to join in.

And if you do decide to opt out – feel cheerful about your decision. Don’t opt out as an act of defiance, because that will lead you to more holiday depression.

By avoiding the following 5 mistakes, you’ll learn to stay in complete control this holiday season.

Mistake 1 – That being on your own is wrong

One of the causes of holiday depression is the loneliness it can create, particularly for single people or those without positive family/social networks.

Loneliness, however, is an interpretation of being on your own – because creating your own fun is a powerful choice.

Being independent of others is the BEST place to be in, both in life and at Christmas. There is no reason to feel embarrassed about being solo.

With Christmas, you’re in an even luckier position.

Unlike everyone else, you won’t have to experience any of the financial, physical and emotional stress on couples and families that Christmas creates. This is a good thing.

You can create the day how you want – with no one to tell you any different.

Being from England, for example, one of my favorite Christmas Days was spent in San Diego Zoo. The place was jam-packed with people! It was 40C, everyone was in shorts, the sky was ocean-blue colored. Saw my first anaconda, panda and tapir that day!

Mistake 2 – That you have to celebrate it like everyone else AKA the religious aspect

This is the season of goodwill towards others, and one where most people are in party mode.

So welcome that, instead of avoiding it. Treat the season as the chance to just let go and have fun.

Acting from goodwill will bring out the positivity in you, your friends and with strangers.

• Bake a cake for everyone at work

• Sing carols to your neighbours

• Volunteer somewhere – at a soup kitchen, old people’s home or homeless shelter

• Hold a scavenger hunt with your friends

Enjoy the holiday food fest, too. Where else you going to be offered hunks of roasted meat next to mountains of cake, all in the same sitting – and for free?

Mistake 3 – That the holidays have to be stressful

That’s an individual choice.

If you want to wade through panicked Christmas shoppers in the malls, that’s up to you.

Treating/pampering yourself is an option most people don’t consider is okay to do at Christmas.

Fend off holiday depression, by using the days off as a timeout for sleep and reading. Fish out the DVD boxsets you’ve been dying to watch. Have that long hot soak in the bath. Book yourself a massage.

Calmly know the Boxing Day sales will follow, so treat yourself to a gift then.

Mistake 4 – That Christmas is about everyone happily sitting together

By letting go of beloved childhood Christmases or the Christmas you imagine you’d have, if your circumstances were different, you’ll make it easier on yourself.

These thoughts of lack are often what causes misery. That, and the assumption we’re missing out on what other people are doing.

All of which will lead to bitterness. You don’t want that.

Instead, think about activities in the past you have really enjoyed, related to other holidays and parties.

• Perhaps you enjoyed the twists of an anti-Valentine party

• Or you threw a weird Potluck – and everyone loved it

Then duplicate this exact activity – and spend your Christmas that way.

Christmas is just one day. You have your own entire, amazing life. If you’re going to reflect on anything, reflect on that.

Mistake 5 – That Christmas is about buying expensive presents

Take a leaf out of the Winter Solstice celebrations.

Here is a holiday – December 21 or 22 – that is about back-to-basics fun. Just enjoying each other’s company is present enough.

You can write plays, poems or songs for each other. Exchange poems and homemade food as gifts.

Play board games. Eat around a bonfire. Have a rowdy guitar singalong.