Beating the Holiday Blues

The holidays are typically portrayed as joyous times full of celebrations and connecting with loved ones. But many people don’t experience the holidays in this way. They may experience feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season known as the “holiday blues.”

Symptoms include things like depression, fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness, isolation, a sense of loss, hopelessness, stress, anxiety, and painful reflection. 

If you are experiencing the holiday blues, below are some suggestions to make the holidays easier to deal with. 

Try Not to Isolate Yourself

The holiday blues may make you want to stay at home alone in your jammies. Look for ways to enjoy social connections. If you’re feeling lonely, ask a friend or family member to come over. Focus on spending time with positive, caring people who have your best interests at heart, and try to steer clear of people who drain you and zap your energy. You may want to consider joining a local club or volunteering for a cause you are passionate about. 

Exercise Regularly

While it can be difficult to stick to a workout schedule when you are feeling down, exercise can be very helpful in beating the holiday blues. You don’t have to go crazy and run a marathon or anything but some regular periods of exercise throughout the week will help. Even going for a short walk each day can be beneficial.  

Learn to Say ‘No’

During the holidays, there are frequently many demands on your time and resources. You don’t have to go to every party or respond affirmatively to every request. Avoid overcommitting by knowing your limits and saying ‘no’ to things that don’t fit your priorities or that you feel will cause undue stress. 

Find Time for Yourself

Make sure that you make time for yourself to relax, even if it’s just 15 to 20 minutes a day. Enjoying some quiet time, reading a book, taking a walk in nature, doing yoga, or participating in some other relaxing activity can be very helpful in dealing with holiday stress. 

Manage Your Expectations

Perhaps you have lost someone close to you, or your kids are grown. People and the holidays change over time. It’s important to focus on connections that are important to you in the present and create new traditions if the old ones aren’t feasible or enjoyable. Most of us don’t experience picture-perfect Norman Rockwell holidays. The holidays don’t have to be perfect to be meaningful. 

Don’t overindulge

The holidays are full of treats and there are lots of opportunities to indulge in alcoholic beverages. Overindulging can leave you feeling sluggish and tired and may also lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Allow yourself some indulgences but try to limit unhealthy holiday foods, large portions, and alcohol consumption.

Face negative feelings in a healthy way

If you’re dealing with loss, loneliness, or isolation, you may want to consider therapy or confiding in a close friend or family member. Acknowledge the struggle that you’re facing and do your best to create new, positive memories.


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