Seven Tips for Beating the Holiday Blues

The holidays are here, and while we should be excitedly shopping and decking the halls, sometimes the season often brings unwelcome guests like chaos, stress, and depression – better known as the holiday blues. And it’s no wonder as the holidays often bring a dizzying array of issues such as financial worries, baking, shopping, cleaning, and entertaining.

Throw in an overwhelming career at a busy medical practice and a global pandemic, and it’s the perfect recipe for the holiday blues. If you’re dealing with feelings of stress or depression, know that you aren’t alone. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get the help you need; follow these seven tips for beating the blues this season!

Understanding seasonal depression. 

The holidays can trigger feelings of sadness for many reasons. Maybe you can’t make it to your family for the holidays; you may be missing the memories from holidays past, or are in a challenging financial situation. If you’re going through a difficult time, it is hard to see others with extra joy in their lives as they celebrate what should be the most wonderful time of the year.

However, not everyone is as happy as they appear, and seasonal depression is more common than you may think. Studies show that approximately 14 percent of Americans experience the winter blues. The holidays often present a never-ending list of challenging demands that exacerbate these feelings. So how do you know if you are experiencing the holiday blues? Some of the symptoms include:

  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns.
  • Lack of pleasure in things that used to bring you joy.
  • Feeling easily angry or irritable.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feelings of loneliness.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.

To treat seasonal depression, it’s crucial that you fully understand it and its symptoms. While the holiday blues are not an officially recognized disorder, that does not mean that these mental health problems should be ignored. Keep reading for tips on coping with these symptoms.

Take care of your body.

Eat well, drink a lot of water, get quality sleep, stay active, and then be merry. Instead of making yet another New Year’s resolution to join a gym or take a yoga class, give your mind and body an early gift and do it right now.

You will be amazed at how just the littlest bit of movement will lift your spirits and how reducing junk food, sugar, and alcohol will reduce your blues. Sleep deprivation and inconsistent sleep patterns are at the root of many people’s depression, making sleep a priority during these long winter months.

Accept your feelings.

If you can’t be with loved ones this season, or you are missing those who have passed away, it’s essential to realize that it’s normal to experience sadness. It’s acceptable to take some time for yourself to cry, reflect, or express your feelings.

You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. So be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to wallow in your sadness now and then. Just don’t make it a habit.

Know when to say no.

Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and drained – especially at work. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or pick-up extra shifts.

If it’s not possible to say no when your supervisor asks you to work overtime, remove something else from your schedule to make up for the lost time.

[Need more tips on reducing stress at work? Click here!]

Seek help.

Don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, co-workers, or support groups. Talk about your feelings with them, make a simple phone call, or chat over coffee. Releasing your emotions will help others understand you, and more importantly, help you understand yourself!

Focus on gratitude.

Embracing gratitude and positivity can help to ease some of the sadness that occurs during the holiday season. Research shows that focusing on thankfulness helps people feel happier and more optimistic, even when things aren’t going well.

Another way to help yourself feel more grateful is by helping others. Helping others can be the best antidote to self-pity and seasonal sadness. Find someone who is struggling more than you are, lend them a helping hand, and remind yourself of the real meaning of the season.

Talk to a professional.

Remember that if you are experiencing a bout of the winter blues or full-blown depression, there is no need for you to handle it alone. If your feelings of sadness or hopelessness become more serious, talk to a mental health professional.

The holiday blues can turn November and December into a time of dread for many. But there are things that you can do to turn it around; start by paying attention to the situations contributing to your stress, anxiety, and sadness. By understanding the things that lead to your holiday blues, you can begin taking steps to control these triggers before they take over your joy and happiness.

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