The holidays bring more than just presents, apple cider, and dinner parties. For many, the holidays are a wonderful time of year that bring joy, but for others, it may bring sentimental memories or stress known as the holiday blues. The holiday blues refers to temporary feelings such as sadness, loneliness, a sense of loss, and frustration that occur during the holiday season. Feel free to take any of the suggestions below to battle the holiday blues.
Here are some tips to manage the holiday blues during the holiday season:
1. Follow a schedule. It can get hectic during the holidays. Write down your schedule for the day to make it easier to stay on track or to follow a plan. Writing down your schedule will help to keep you organized and give you realistic expectations of what you can and cannot complete in a day.
2. Limit your alcohol use. With the holidays, come gatherings and alcohol. Excessive alcohol causes a harmful effect on mood and sleep. Try to limit alcohol or eliminate alcohol entirely. Instead, celebrate with other holiday beverages or mocktails. Do not feel pressured to drink at every holiday gathering.
3. Plan something for yourself after the holidays. Plan anything that will boost your spirit after the holiday season is over. Start a new book, hobby, or favorite show. Having something to look forward to is important, and it does not mean it needs to be expensive.
4. Limit your time on social media. Social media does not always reflect the truth. People have more free time around the holiday season and can be easily drawn to use their devices. The amount of information on social media can be overwhelming at times, especially around the holidays. Remind yourself that everything depicted on social media is not always reality. Be mindful of your feelings as social media may intensify the feelings.
5. Find your own way to celebrate the holidays. Isolating yourself or pretending that the holidays are not happening can magnify your symptoms. Instead, think about which holiday celebrations you enjoy. If nothing from your past sparks joy, then create some new traditions. March to the beat of your own drum and celebrate in ways that bring you peace, joy, and happiness.
6. Take care of your mind and body. Try to eat nutritious meals and avoid overeating during holiday gatherings. Try to exercise to release stress and tension. Having a set bedtime as being well-rested can improve your mood and increase your energy during the day. Have a daily check-in with yourself and ask how you are feeling.
7. Set a budget. Whether it is presents or holiday activities, give yourself a budget. Do not add to financial stressors. Try a gift exchange idea such as White Elephant with friends, family, and co-workers. This will decrease some of the stress and it will save you time and money.
Holidays blues may be short-term, but it may lead to a long-term mental health condition. If you know anyone experiencing the holiday blues, offer help, check in with them, practice empathy, or simply stay connected with the person. If the holiday blues appear to linger, then consider getting professional care. El Centro de Amistad is ready to help and give the care and support you may need. Remember to engage in activities that make you happy and feel your best. As always, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season surrounded by your loved ones.
The article was written by Viviana Hernandez, M.S., LMFT, Clinical Supervisor