Do you suffer from the Holiday Blues? Holidays can bring up a myriad of emotions. Feelings of depression are more common in November and December than any other time of the year. Feelings of loneliness or a lack of fulfillment can also be more present during the holidays. This can be due to stress, anxiety, and the pressure to make the most of the holidays.
Here are a few tips to help lighten your mood during the holidays and help navigate through potentially difficult times.
• Look Forward to Creating New Holiday Experiences. Dwelling on past holidays may bring up some painful memories. If this is the case, it’s time to make new memories. Spend time with friends and family and focus on those who are present instead of who may not be there anymore. Though it may be challenging, attempt to enjoy the small things, creating new traditions with those around you and spending time with supportive and caring people.
• Keep Realistic Expectations. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. The holidays last for many weeks and there’s no need to put the entire focus on just one day. It’s a whole season so spread out the joy and activities.
• Plan for the “Day After”. Sometimes we may have feelings of emptiness when there is a mass exodus right after a large gathering. If this is the case, plan to do something such as exercise or spending time with a friend. Exercise and moving your body is an excellent way to not only burn off some the extra holiday treats but to also move through some of the “down” feelings you may be experiencing.
• Limit excessive drinking. Excessive drinking usually goes hand in hand with holidays, but it can trigger depression. Choose your limit before you start, and drink plenty of water before, during and after!
• Do something for someone else. Gratitude comes from helping others, which can distract us from our own “story” and bring us joy. This could be something as simple as buying a toy for a child in need or offering a hug to someone who looks like they could use one.
• Lastly, take time for yourself. Try to do something every day that lifts your spirits. Maybe it’s artwork or catching up with your favorite shows. I personally turn up the music and start dancing!
If you feel you require more help, there is no shame in reaching out to professional help. Along this theme, we will be hosting an Educational Evening on November 6th with Dr. Terri Quinn, a licensed clinical psychologist who will elaborate on navigating the holiday stress. Please join us if you felt this article was particularly helpful!