Provided by FoundCare’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sharron Frederick

Being overwhelmed by high expectations, distressed by money woes, and the stress related to the holidays can bring anyone down, especially those prone to depression. Depression is a mood disorder that may affect how you think, feel, and act. During the holidays, it can be especially hard to act cheerful when you’re just not feeling cheerful.

We met with FoundCare’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sharron Frederick, for tips on how to avoid the holiday blues.

    • Don’t abandon healthy habits. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating healthy are important to incorporate during the holidays. Exercise has been proven to act as a natural antidepressant because it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that help improve your mood. It also has been linked to reducing stress and anxiety! 
    • Engage in volunteering or a cause close to your heart. Research on volunteering suggests that volunteering is linked to improved life satisfaction, wellbeing, and lower levels of depression. Helping others can put you back in a positive state of mind.
    • Reach out to others; Be around family and friends. Surrounding yourself with loved ones is an easy way to remind yourself that you are not alone, even though your symptoms may make you feel that way. For those who may not have a circle of friends or family available during the holidays, volunteering is an easy way to surround yourself with new friends. 
    • Focus on the positive; Use gratitude daily. Gratitude reduces an abundance of toxic emotions such as anger, guilt, envy, regret, and frustration (to name a few). Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being and confirmed that gratitude effectively reduces depression and increases happiness.
    • Be realistic about the holiday. "People tend to think of perfection, happiness, and laughter during the holidays, and that is not always the case, " Ms. Frederick said. "When you have unrealistically high expectations, you'll be disappointed when things do not turn out the way you expected." Figure out what your expectations are, decide whether or not they are realistic, then let go of the ones that are not.

Sharron Frederick, LCSW joined FoundCare at the end of 2015. She received her MSW from Florida Atlantic University and has been a practicing LCSW for six years. She is dedicated to working with patients who struggle with depression and anxiety, and focusing on goal-setting, increasing self-esteem, improving communication, implementing lifestyle changes, coping with medical issues, grief and loss, and anger management.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, FoundCare can help. Please call 561-432-5849 to schedule an appointment today.