“Holiday blues” is a real thing. During this time of year, some people experience more depression than joy. Tidings of comfort and joy turn into musings of pain and despair. There are a lot of possible reasons for the Holiday Blues. Being too busy, missing deceased family members, pressure to engage in all of the holiday parties, a tight budget…we could go on and on. This period between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be emotionally difficult for some – and it’s a real thing.
Rather than focus on the causes of the Holiday Blues, I prefer to focus on some strategies that might help. Here are some Holiday Blues coping tips…
Find Some Sunshine
Recent research has shown that increasing vitamin D levels may reduce symptoms of depression, specifically for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder. While the Holiday Blues may or may not be seasonal affective disorder, getting a little more active vitamin D may improve one’s mood. It’s not easy to get sunlight in the winter, try to get at least 20 minutes of sunshine.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, and especially the time in between, is a great time to volunteer. Lots of organizations need extra help this time of year. Even if you don’t volunteer formally, finding a family, lonely senior adult, or someone else to help may just help you curb your Holiday Blues.
Get Rid of Family Fantasies
The great thing about the holidays is we get to see our families. Sometimes, we can have “perfect family” fantasies that are unreasonable. Go ahead and accept that your family isn’t perfect. Don’t let disappointment that your family isn’t perfect give you the Holiday Blues. They’re not perfect and neither are you. Accept that.
Make New Traditions
Sometimes, family traditions do little more than bring up painful memories. Feel free to make new ones. As far as I know, there are no laws about how holidays HAVE to be celebrated. Make some new traditions that are meaningful and pleasant for you.
“Stay busy” seems like a weird thing to say for the holiday season. However, for some, this time of year is filled with downtime. If this is true for you, feel free to visit people you haven’t seen in a while, volunteer, or host a party. Be careful to not get too busy, though.
…But not too Busy
Some need to intentionally stay busy. Others need to intentionally be less busy. Say no when you need to making sure you say yes to the right things. You probably can’t physically do everything everyone wants you to do. Go ahead and accept that and plan the specific things you want to do. Be realistic and don’t be afraid to disappoint others. Guess what…they can’t do it all either. People really do understand.
Holiday Blues are not enjoyable. This time of year was made for reflection, gratitude, togetherness, and celebration. Remember that. If you start feeling pressure, frustration, regret, or anger, remind yourself of what this time of year is about. Take a moment and remind yourself of what is really important.
What are some things you do to help get through the holidays with joy? We would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below.