sad woman

Beating the Holiday Blues

In the real world, many people experience the holiday blues – feelings of sadness or loneliness. These feelings often stem from the stress and fatigue of trying to do too much during the holidays, or from setting unrealistic expectations. For many people, the inability to be with family can lead to the blues. Still others feel the loss of loved ones more acutely during the holidays, making even the most festive celebrations difficult.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help beat the blues this holiday season:

☑️. Be realistic – Every holiday season doesn’t have to be your best ever. Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Don’t overestimate what you can and will do. Instead, pace yourself, organize your time, and make a list and prioritize your most important activities.

☑️. Practice moderation – Excesses can take their toll. Whether it’s food, drink, parties or spending, be conservative. Make your celebrations healthy by including low-calorie snack options and alcohol-free beverages. Get plenty of sleep and keep up your activity level. Set some specific limits to spending, and consider gifts of time or handmade presents.

☑️. Let go of the past – Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by thinking everything has to be just like the “good old days.” Life brings changes. Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Look toward the future. As families change and grow, traditions may need to change as well.

☑️. Try something new – Experiment with new ways to enjoy the holidays. Create some new traditions. Go on a family vacation or volunteer your time to a favorite charity.

☑️. Seek out the people you love – Spend time with people who are supportive and who care about you. Reach out to make new friends if you are alone during the holidays. Contact someone with whom you have lost touch.

☑️. Do something for someone else – Getting involved and helping others can be a great way to lift your spirits. It’s also a good way to make new acquaintances. Try searching for volunteer opportunities in your area, there is no shortage of people in need.

☑️. Consider your health – Get plenty of sleep and schedule time for activity. Not only will increased activity help fend off extra pounds; it will make you feel more refreshed and less fatigued. Also, find personal time for yourself.

Remember the reason for the season... be kind to everyone, and be especially kind to yourself.

☑️. Be realistic about others – People do not change just for the holidays. Set differences aside, and try to accept family members as they are. Leave old grievances or discussions about differences until a more appropriate time. It makes no sense to hope that somehow “this year will be different” only to feel resentful when it is not.

☑️. Reflect on the season – Take a few minutes every day to reflect on the joy of the season, and to be thankful for your family, your health and the blessings of your life.

☑️. Don’t ignore your feelings – If you suffer from the holiday blues, don’t avoid your negative feelings. Talk with someone you trust about what you are experiencing, and try to get another perspective on it.

When you’re feeling worse than blue…

Don’t ignore severe symptoms of depression, because it is the holidays. The “holiday blues” are relatively mild, time-limited and non disruptive vs. Depression, which has a significant impact on your ability to cope day to day.

Be aware that prolonged or severe sadness accompanied by feelings of worthlessness, loss of energy, diminished interest in activities, significant appetite and sleep changes or thoughts of suicide may signal a treatable problem that should be evaluated by a mental health professional. If you, or someone close to you is suffering from depression, seek help from a qualified mental health professional.