Dealing with Holiday Stress and Depression

Dealing with Holiday Stress and Depression

by Cammual Suttor, MD, Lexington Clinic Internal Medicine

The Christmas and holiday season is known as the most wonderful time of the year. From songs on the radio, to shows and movies on TV and even advertisements, we’re told this is when we should be the happiest. But the reality is, for many people, the holidays really aren’t that happy.

Stress and depression are at an all-time high this time of year. Running from place-to-place, either finishing up last-minute shopping or attending events with friends and family, puts our schedules into overdrive. Combine this with stressful end-of-the-year deadlines, family dysfunction and/or loss, poor eating and drinking habits and cold, dreary weather and it creates a recipe for depression.

Depression during the holidays is a taboo subject, one that many people don’t like to discuss, but more and more experts are saying that talking about it is actually exactly what we should be doing.

If you are feeling depressed there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t pretend that the stress and depression don’t exist, it will only make things worse.
  • Reach out. Seek out someone to talk to whether it is a friend or family member, pastor or counselor or even a close colleague.
  • Don’t isolate. If you’re feeling left out, get out of the house and find something to do, even if it is as simple as taking a drive to look at some Christmas lights.
  • Plan a rest day. All of the running can wear out your mind and body. Give yourself a day to just relax once the holidays are over.

Depression during the holidays isn’t something to be ignored, and it isn’t something that will go away on its own. And if we allow it, depression will actually begin to have an adverse affect on our physical health.

A good, healthy diet can go a long way in helping fight depression. Your primary care provider can help you establish a good diet plan to make it through the holidays or to get back on track in the New Year. If you don’t already have a primary care provider and would like to establish care, please call (859) 258-4362 or visit

Cammual Suttor, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine. He provides services in general internal medicine and preventive medicine. Dr. Suttor’s professional interests include DOT and CDL physicals, pre-employment physicals and industrial medicine.

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