My favorite time of year is Thanksgiving through New Years. I love spending time with family and friends while carving the turkey at Thanksgiving or listening to holiday music by the fireplace. The sound of Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song brings up pleasant memories of my childhood. However, while I find this time of year to be magical, there are quite a few people who experience the holiday blues and don’t know how to cope.
Sadness, anger, loneliness, sleeping difficulties and feeling emotionally and physically drained are some defining characteristics of the holiday blues. A myriad of factors, including financial problems, inability to be with loved ones, recent trauma, lack of an adequate support system and life changes can contribute to the blues. Fortunately, the holiday blues typically subside after the holiday season ends and there are ways to improve one’s mood so you can enjoy the season.
Here are a couple of ways that you can cope with the holiday blues:
1. Practice good self-care by making a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate rest your priorities.
2. Decide how much to spend and stick to a budget.
3. Volunteer to serve others during the holiday season.
4. Stay connected to others by participating in a community, religious or social event.
5. Reduce your stress by including relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and prayer into your daily routine.
6. Challenge negative thinking by counting your blessings and focusing on what’s right in your life.
7. Plan activities into your day that bring you joy like looking at photos, taking a bubble bath, taking a walk, or talking to friends.
8. Participate in a support group with others who are experiencing the holiday blues so that you know you are not alone.
8. Talk to a professional like a social worker or psychologist, if the holiday season passes and you still are experiencing the blues.
The holiday blues are possible to manage with some of these tips I mentioned. Comment below and let me know how you cope with the holiday blues. Also, please keep in mind that the holiday blues are not to be confused with a true depressive or anxiety disorder. A healthcare professional can help you to determine if you are experiencing the holiday blues or something more chronic.