The Holiday Blues – Artists and Depression

The blues, depression, the black dog days.  These are all a thing that most artists will have to face at one time or another for various reasons however the main one to watch out for is the holiday season.  Christmas, Hannukka, Mawlid al-Nabi or whatever reason you have for a traditional gathering.  However as an artist – especially if you are in indie developer, freelance artist or hard working student – this season can be particularly difficult.

Money issues exist for us all however they seem to really become an issue to us at this time of the year when additional costs can seem insurmountable.  Let’s be honest the news sometimes seems to be painting the worst possible picture, everyone is having financial problems (I know I am) and spending your time hiding from it all on facebook is not an option if you want to get by.

So, here are some things that I hope can help you if you do have issues over this season;

  • Keep working BUT let your team lead know you are having problems if you feel you need support.  Your work place cannot guess that you are ill ,however increased sick days, late attendance and a drop in your output will draw notice.  Here is an article from Forbes that has some useful advice you might want to look over – however the number one thing is to communicate with others on your team.  It might not feel great to admit that you are not well and by no means disclose that you are suffering from depression if you are in a country that stigmatises what is classed as a psychological problem, however most countries have discriminatory laws on sickness and you may find yourself with more support than you expected.
  • If you work for yourself then things are different.  You need to talk to people, get out, occasionally see the sun and relax.  Schedule yourself a break; You may think that you have no time to take a day off, however you will find it easier to concentrate and to hit your own targets if you make time for something you enjoy.  It may be a game, a book, a walk with a friend or a meal out however treat yourself within your budget.  Make time for you.
  • Try a hobby or pastime.  A lot of them require minimal to no financial input to start;  Try an art class at the local library, help at a food kitchen for the homeless, go running, visit an elderly neighbour.  Anything just to break up your routine and get you socialising – remember we are social animals!
  • If you need to talk to someone urgently you can call the Samaritans in the USA or the UK usually at a free rate.

REMEMBER that being loaded with money, gifts and cheer is not mandatory.  Your health both mentally and physically is more important than baubles and if you are religious then use the time to help out at your Church or Temple perhaps.  Again it is a great chance to meet people and socialise!

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About the Author


Founder of Youcanblue as well as the founder of a large legacy training site for 3d artists, Blue is a well known and liked member of the 3d and game development community.

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