7 Ways to Fight Depression during the Holidays


The last of a series of posts I wrote for another blog, this one is particularly apropos for the coming season.

staircase dream escherI had a dream the other night that was more a nightmare.  It was Ambien-induced; taking the sleep aid is not my usual habit but it was an easy way out.  Or so I thought until the dream/nightmare.

In it, I was visiting friends who live in a tropical area where everyone walks around half-clothed.  I was having fun until I started focusing on my looks, comparing myself to everyone else.  Doing that radically changed my mood, clearly bringing me down.  It took away all the fun of my trip, and negatively affected my friends, too.  I woke up feeling quite shaken by the dream. I viscerally felt how damaging my focus on my looks was.

I’m sharing this dream to explore the depression aspect of it.  Because that’s where I think my sleep thoughts came from – depression induced by the Ambien. I’m not a therapist but I have experienced this down in the dumps feeling before, and have worked with many women who tell me they frequently struggle with feeling down.

I recently picked up a flyer at Whole Foods titled Healthy Mood. It discussed the difference between real depression and a blue mood.  We all feel blue occasionally.  Real depression is a different animal.  Regardless which affects us, however, many of us distract ourselves from what’s really going on – feelings we don’t want to acknowledge perhaps? — by focusing on how we look.

As we enter the holidays, a time of true depression for many people, it was fitting that I found myself thinking about this problem when I was at Whole Foods.  What we eat can have a major impact on how we feel, both physically and mentally.  A diet of highly-processed, nutrient-poor foods can be a recipe for disaster in this regard.

My holiday wish for everyone:  That we have the time and resources to take care of ourselves during this special time.  The Whole Foods’ flyer listed these five ways to support a healthy mood.

  • Exercise
  • Sleep and rest
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Purpose

I’ll add two more:

  • Eating well, enjoying what we eat and eating it in a way that makes us feel well
  • Self-acceptance.  A critical one for those of us who struggle with weight issues

A happy Thanksgiving to all of us in the U.S. and good wishes to everyone else, too.

2 responses to “7 Ways to Fight Depression during the Holidays”

  1. AD'Angelo says:

    Marsha, another item you can add to your list of ways to support a healthy mood is supplementing with Omega-3. It’s known for being very effective for depression and often we are lacking in this very important nutrient.
    Thanks for yet another great article.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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