Blue Christmas? How to Keep Depression at Bay

For some of us, Christmas is more blue than red and green. Watch depression melt away with these coping strategies

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Holiday depression is normal, but these tips can help to banish the blues

For some of us, Christmas is more blue than red and green. These coping strategies can help ward off holiday depression

If you’ve lost someone special this year –- a rough breakup with a lover you pictured happily opening your gift on Christmas Day, or the death of a parent you hoped would be there to watch grandkids grow the ads with their depictions of happy families and the seasonal Christmas greetings from people you barely know only remind you of your loss.

If you’re alone and afraid you’ll stay that way, you can be just as depressed. Yes, it’s going to be a blue Christmas, all right. Here’s how to make the best of the season.

Stay Dry

While it may seem like the best time of year, and the best excuse, to drown your sorrows in a cup of seasonal cheer, overdoing it on the alcohol only works to numb pain in the short term. Once you sober up, you’re right back to blue.

Try Something New

Ever been snowshoeing or cross-country skiing? How about learning to skate or trying hot yoga? New activities burn new neural pathways in the brain, giving us temporary relief from the obsessive regrets of the grieving state.

Gather with Others

You may not have family nearby, but many churches, such as St Andrews Wesley in Vancouver and Kamloops United Church, hold Blue Christmas services at this time of year. Visiting a different religious denomination, such as a Buddhist temple, may provide relief if you find reminders of the season oppressive.


With darkness coming on earlier and a chill in the air, it’s no wonder depression can weigh you down. While any of the new exercises listed above can help, you can also turn to activities you already enjoy, whether walking the dog or lifting weights, to make sure you feel as good as possible in a stressful season. Bonus: try to make it a social activity rather than a solitary one.

Get Some Light

While Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real phenomenon, we could all use more light in the winter. If a sun-soaked vacation isn’t in the cards, try one of the new broad-spectrum lights that promises to reset your mood with a few minutes of exposure a day.