During the festive season, there’s an expectation that you should be surrounded by your friends and family, enjoying the holidays and appreciating what you have. Through other people’s eyes that’s a wonderful thing. To them, that’s what Christmas is all about.
However, for some people it can be a difficult and lonely time. For many different reasons, such as the death of a loved one, living too far from relatives, or possibly because of social isolation.
Depression can affect us at any time, but it can be especially difficult with the social and financial pressures of Christmas. Common symptoms are restlessness, irritability, feeling worthless and finding no enjoyment in activities you normally would, can flare up over this period.
Other warning signs may be behavioural changes like experiencing insomnia, having a low or increased appetite, drinking or smoking more than usual, or having a low libido.
Dr Babu Nayar, Consultant Psychiatrist at Tranquil TMS, recommends the following steps to help combat depression and loneliness this Christmas:
- Speak to your GP or a Psychiatrist – if any of your depression symptoms are severe or continue for a few weeks, as more than the festive season may be the cause. Always seek professional help.
- Make plans – decide how and with whom your holidays will be spent. Uncertainty and putting off decision-making can add enormous stress.
- Ask for help –from your family and friends. Women in particular tend to think they have to do everything, when a team effort can be more fun.
- Don’t buy things you can’t afford – shame prevents people from being open about gift-giving when they can’t afford it. Instead of struggling to buy a gift, let your loved ones know how much you care and would like to, but can’t afford it. This will help relieve any financial stress.
- Make time to rest and rejuvenate –even amidst the pressure of getting things done. This will give you more energy.
- Spend time alone to reflect and grieve, if necessary – pushing down feelings leads to depression. Let yourself feel. Then do something nice for yourself and socialise.
- Don’t isolate yourself – reach out to others who also may be lonely. If you don’t have someone to be with, volunteer to help those in need. It can be very uplifting and gratifying.
There are many great resources to seek support, advice and someone to talk to if you think you will feel lonely at Christmas. These people are ALWAYS there and waiting for your call, especially at a time like Christmas. See the link below for more information about each helpline:
rTMS treatment is covered by a number of insurance companies and is NICE and FDA approved.