What are the holiday blues?
For some of us, the holidays can be a depressing time when we get the holiday blues. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anger can intensify when contrasted with the joy expected of the holidays. Factors that can contribute to holiday depression include:
- Associating the holidays with unresolved family issues or a painful childhood.
- Ignoring feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression in an effort to maintain “holiday cheer.”
- Facing the loss of a loved one with whom you have shared the holidays.
- Having unrealistic expectations of family and friends.
- Having an expectation that you “should” feel good.
- Being away from family and friends.
- Feeling isolated from others.
- Reflecting on losses or disappointments over the past year.
- Coping with changes in family obligations, particularly after a recent marriage or divorce.
- Drinking more alcohol, which is often more readily available during the holidays. (Avoid drinking alcohol to ward off negative feelings. Alcohol often will make depression worse.)
Information From Cleveland Clinic
Here are nine ways to deal with the holiday blues:
- Limit alcohol – Limit your alcohol intake, and try not to keep it readily available around your house. If you’re attending a party and you know alcohol will be accessible, limit yourself to one or two drinks. Drinking to excess can affect your mood and amplify any negative feelings that you may have.
- Get plenty of sleep – Try to go to bed at a specific time each night. Being well-rested can improve your mood and help you feel ready to take on the day.
- Learn to say “no” – Overscheduling and not making time for yourself can lead to emotional breakdowns. Learn how to say “no,” and stay firm on your decision.
- Be open to new traditions – You may have an image of what you think the holiday should consist of, and this may not be what’s actually happening. Instead of holding on to what the holiday should have been, allow new traditions to unfold.
- Get support when mourning a loved one – If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be especially tough. Although it can be tempting to isolate yourself and grieve, it can be beneficial to spend time with your friends and family. They can support you through this difficult time.
- Spend time with your loved ones – Instead of spending the holidays alone at home, get your friends or family together for a dinner party at your place. The more the merrier! You can spruce things up with lively decorations and add welcoming floral arrangements to your living spaces.
- Exercise regularly – Plug in your headphones and pop out for a walk around the block a couple of times a day. A quick 10-minute walk will get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins.
- Do something fun to get over a recent breakup – It can be difficult to be alone when you’re nursing an aching heart. Instead of sitting at home, fill up your calendar with activities. Websites such as meetup.com offer group outings, such as dinners and dancing, almost every night of the week.
- Avoid overeating – Before heading out to social events, fill up on veggies. You can even fill up a small sandwich bag and snack in the car. Holiday outings can often lead to overeating, which can affect your mood and overall well-being.
Information From HealthLine
Never be afraid to ask for help, or to reach out and speak with a professional. Having a strong support system can always beat the holiday blues the most efficient way, and having additional support is more beneficial than harmful.