The holidays are one of the most festive times of the year, but for some people, it can be the saddest. Here are some tips to kick the holiday blues to the curb and get some holiday cheer.
Kick the Holiday Blues and Bust Christmas Depression with These 15 Tips
Reasons Why You Get the Holiday Blues
There are a variety of reasons why you get the Christmas blues. Some of these reasons include:
- Feelings of loneliness: Without a family or a support system in place, the holidays can be a sad time.
- Financial issues: The holidays are a season of giving. Without the resources to share things with others, your self-esteem can hit an all-time low.
- Painful memories: Some people associate the holidays with painful memories (like a death in the family). This can put a damper on even the happiest of holidays.
- Lack of sun: Others find that their mental health takes a nosedive due to the lack of sunlight during wintertime. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Grand expectations: While aiming high is a good thing, it can also lead to setting yourself up for great disappointment.
- Family dysfunction: For those who don’t get along with their family, the holidays can be an especially stressful time.
Whatever your reason may be, you have options with how to lift your spirits up. Here are some of them.
1. Allow Yourself to Feel Your Feelings
You can’t fight what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to experience what you’re feeling.
Wallowing in your guilt and faking happiness can make things worse.
Just because you got the holiday blues doesn’t mean you can’t bring cheer to someone else’s Christmas. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, spend time with the elderly, or visit a children’s hospital.
Doing these allows you to experience giving to others, which is the real meaning of the holiday season.
3. Get Moving
If you’re feeling the holiday blues get to you, go outside even if it’s a trip to the nearest coffee shop. A brief conversation with the baristas could be enough to lift your spirits up.
You can also try exercising. You don’t even need to go to the gym to do it – a brisk walk around the block can get your heart going and lift your mood.
4. Make New Traditions
There’s no one way to spend the holidays. If you associate some traditions with painful memories, scrap them, and make your own.
Some traditions you can consider creating include:
- Making Christmas brunch instead of dinner
- Spending the holidays with friends
- Creating new memories with your loved ones
5. Plan Ahead
Knowing you’ll be alone for the holidays means you should plan ahead. Make time for self-soothing routines and make sure to follow through with them.
The holiday blues feed on idle time, and you don’t want to sink further into depression.
6. Do Something New
Instead of sitting at home and isolating yourself from the world, fill up your calendar with some fun activities to pass the time. Check out meetup groups in your area – there’s bound to be one for every type of interest out there.
7. Call a Friend
The holidays are a perfect time to pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Who knows? That person could be just as eager to chat with you.
8. Stay Away from Conflict and Dysfunction
While the holidays are a time family members get together, it’s also the time old wounds and conflicts surface. If you come from a dysfunctional family and must spend time with them, prepare neutral responses to save your sanity.
Here are some responses you can practice and whip out:
- “Let’s not talk about it right now.”
- “I can see why you’re thinking that.”
If there’s an opportunity to escape from the mess, take it. Play with the kids, help out with dinner preparations, or step out of the house to get some fresh air.
9. Get Some Rest
The holiday hustle and bustle can screw up your sleeping schedule. Try to sleep and wake up at a consistent time and make your bedroom a conducive place for resting.
10. Ask for Help for Your Holiday Blues
Sometimes, you can’t manage the holiday blues on your own. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help and support during a difficult time.
Spend more time with your loved ones. If this isn’t an option, spend time volunteering or seek support groups.
11. Seek the Sun
If you’re living with Seasonal Affective Disorder, talk to your doctor about your options. Also, spend more time outdoors during daylight and invest in a light therapy box if this is a chronic condition for you.
12. Limit Food and Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a depressant, which can help you relax but at the same time, exacerbate any existing depression you already have. Limit your intake a drink or two.
Holiday overindulgence can also lead you to overeat, which can further increase your symptoms. While the occasional indulgence is welcome, try to stick to a regular balanced diet whenever you can.
13. Set Limits and Boundaries
It’s tempting to say yes to every social event that comes up, but learn how to say no so you can make time to rest and recharge, too. Learn how to say “no” and know that it’s perfectly fine not to be there.
14. Practice Gratitude
Take stock of the little things that make you happy and focus on what the holidays are about. While the holidays can be a time of sadness and grief for you, focusing on some of the positives, no matter how small, can go a long way.
15. Set Reasonable Expectations
Great expectations can lead to great disappointments. The holidays don’t have to be perfect enough to go on a Christmas card for it to be meaningful.
Focus on the here and the now, and cherish the time you spend with those you love.
Holiday blues do happen, and for most people, this goes away after the holidays. If you still feel down, you may be dealing with a bigger problem than post-holiday blues.
If this is the case, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can then help you determine what causes your post-Christmas depression and work on treatment options for you.
What’s the worst case of holiday blues you ever had? Share your experiences in the comments section below.