Imagine what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year just seeming like a chore. The season of good cheer can trigger depression. You may not be able to make it home for the holidays, or you may be in a rough financial situation. If you're going through a difficult time, it can be tough to see others with extra joy in their lives.

Holiday depression is more common than you may think. Approximately 14 percent of Americans experience the "winter blues."

Cold-weather blues can be especially overwhelming during a time of personal or professional change. Christmas and New Year's Eve often present challenging demands, from never-ending parties to family obligations. These events can come with higher levels of stress, making a few stiff drinks a reason to celebrate.

You aren’t alone

If you're dealing with feelings of stress or depression, know that you aren't alone. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get the help you need. One way to reduce holiday stress is to cut back on drinking.

Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking less alcohol can help reduce symptoms of depression. By keeping track of your drinks, you can get through the holiday season feeling happier and more like yourself.

Holiday blues can affect anyone

Experiencing a blue period is common during the winter season. Although the cause is unknown, experts speculate that it could be due to the change in weather or the lack of sunlight. Whatever the reason, the blues can make for a difficult winter.  

The most common symptom is amplified depression, but other symptoms include fatigue, loss of interest in activities, and trouble concentrating. If you're struggling with the blues, there are some things you can do to help ease your symptoms.

How to cut back during the holiday season

For many people, drinking alcohol is a big part of their social life. However, drinking too much alcohol can have negative consequences on your health, both physically and mentally.

Try not to keep alcohol readily available in your home. If it's not around, you'll be less likely to drink it. If you're attending a party or other event where alcohol will be served, limit yourself to one or two drinks.

Drinking to excess can make you feel sleepy and sluggish, and it can also intensify any negative emotions you may be feeling.

Sleep and alcohol

Most people know that they should try to get a good night's sleep, but they may not realize just how important it is for their overall health and well-being. Getting enough sleep helps to improve mood, increase energy levels and promote better physical health.

Many people struggle to get enough rest due to busy schedules and social obligations. One way to get more sleep while also cutting back on drinking is to go to bed at a specific time each night. This will help to ensure that you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Drinking less alcohol can also help you to get a better night's rest.

Alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it actually disrupts sleep patterns and makes it difficult to reach the deep, restful stage of sleep. If you're looking to cut back on alcohol, try cutting back gradually instead of quitting cold turkey. This will give your body time to adjust and make it less likely that you'll experience withdrawal symptoms.

Overscheduling

One habit that can lead to emotional breakdowns is overscheduling and not making time for yourself. If you don't cut back on drinking while also experiencing these stressors, you're more likely to have an emotional breakdown. Learn how to say "no," and cut back on alcohol.

Whether you're cutting back on events or alcohol, it's important to stay firm on your decision. If you find yourself getting tempted to pack in a liquid lunch, remind yourself of the reasons why you're cutting back. Emotional breakdowns can be prevented by cutting back on drinking and making time for yourself.

Stick to one type of alcohol

If you're drinking mixed drinks, you're more likely to drink more because you're not as aware of how much alcohol you're consuming. Keep track of how many drinks you have. This will help you be more conscious of how much you're actually drinking.

Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This will help you pace yourself and prevent you from getting too intoxicated. Make sure to eat before or during drinking. Eating will help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your system.

Drinking too much? There’s an app for that!

Reframe is the first scientifically-proven app to help people develop healthier drinking habits. It’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to change unhealthy behaviors.

With Reframe, you can track your progress over time, set goals, and get support from a community of people who are also working to improve their drinking habits. You’ll have everything you need to make positive changes in your drinking behavior – right at your fingertips.

Download the Reframe app today!