-Mayah Taylor, MA
Holidays can be a time filled with much joy and happiness. It is a time centered around togetherness and being with your family and friends. For some people the holiday season means that their social calendar is bursting with family reunions, holiday parties, and other holiday related social events. The holiday season is also the time of year when people are feeling the most lonely. While everyone else is out spreading good cheer, you may find yourself feeling depressed, lonely, anxious, and isolated from everything else going on around you. The holiday blues are a real phenomenon. One survey by the American Psychological Association found that while the majority of people in the survey reported feelings of happiness, love, and high spirits over the holidays, those emotions were often accompanied by feelings of fatigue, stress, irritability, bloating, and sadness. If the holiday season has you feeling depressed or anxious, follow our tips below.
The holidays can be particularly overwhelming. Our society may advertise the notion that during the holidays you need to spend time with an abundance of people including friends and family to spread the holiday cheer. This is not true. Spending time with a small number of people will suffice during this time. This number can be as small as reaching out to 1-2 of your closest family or friends during the holiday season. Staying connected as you navigate through the holiday blues is a helpful way to cope. It is important to have a few people to depend on and who can depend on you. Take a moment to identify your close circle of friends or family and reach out to them often.
While the holidays offer numerous parties and social events to participate in, remember to ensure that whatever you do participate in is meaningful to you. Also remember to not overwhelm yourself with the expectation that you need to go to every event during the holidays. This is how one gets overwhelmed when battling the loneliness they feel. Find your balance. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Prioritize what is important for you to participate in. It may be helpful to include new activities that interest you and that you may enjoy to participate in during this time of year like volunteering. Try not to engage in self-comparison by what social media, television, and movies pitch to you during the holiday season. These outlets have a way of making you feel that you should be doing what they are presenting to you which in turn can affect your expectations for the season.
It is okay to feel the way you are feeling. Know that you are not alone. The most important thing is that you take the time to show yourself compassion and love in the midst of the holiday blues. Take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy and that relax you. Make sure to get plenty of rest and that you are eating well. You may even benefit from planning something like a spa day for yourself where you can be pampered or spend a quiet day to yourself where you listen to relaxing music. Just be sure to maintain healthy habits during this period.
The holidays are a busy time for people. One can get lost in the regular daily to do list and then we add on the holidays-whew! It’s very important that you are attentive to how you are feeling and take steps to ensure that you are taking care of yourself during this time. Remember to not overwhelm yourself with those pesky holiday expectations that we tend to place upon ourselves. Find your balance and do what’s most important to you. Reach out to the people that are closest to you for support and never isolate yourself. If you find yourself continuing to struggles with the holiday blues and nothing you try is working or if you feel that this is more than you can handle, reach out to your doctor, therapist, support group, or other health professional for further support. We want to hear from you. Let us know your success and challenges when coping with the holiday blues.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our collection of holiday blogs, here.