The holiday season, traditionally associated with joy, warmth, and togetherness, can also cast a shadow over some of us. For many, the "holiday blues" are a real and challenging aspect of this time of year. Whether triggered by loneliness, loss, stress, or financial strain, these emotions can dampen the festive spirit.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the Holiday Blues affect 64% of the population. This means that over half of the world’s population feels everything but comfort and joy during the holiday season. Here are some tips for combating the holiday blues and coping during this time.
Learn to say “no”.
November and December are two of the busiest months of the year. It’s crucial to learn how to say “no” and be okay with not attending everything. Overbooking your schedule will only add to your pre-existing stress and anxiety.
Be open to new traditions.
Sometimes repetition can be boring, and traditions can hold you to unnecessary expectations. Try doing something different this year to add excitement to the season. Each holiday doesn’t need to be an exact replica of years past or match societal norms.
Take the season in stride. You don’t have to buy all Christmas gifts or mail out all Christmas cards in one day. Take breaks when you need to, and don’t feel ashamed about not getting all your tasks completed.
Don’t compare your family to others.
We all received those holiday cards where families send a long letter about their yearly accomplishments. While it’s nice to know what our friends have been up to, it can be demoralizing to compare your past year to theirs, especially if you are struggling with difficult circumstances. Everyone has bad years and good years, so it’s important not to try to compare your year to someone else’s.
Limit your alcohol intake.
With all the holiday parties, it’s easy to go for a glass of wine, or a beer. We are more likely to drink during the holiday season due to increased stress levels and social activity. Too much alcohol can be harmful to your mental health, so it’s wise to limit yourself, or avoid it entirely and grab a hot cocoa.
Surround yourself with the right people.
The Holiday season is all about the gift of family and friends. Surround yourself this season with the ones who bring joy into your life. Talk with these people through your highest and lowest moments and reach out to them when you are in need.
Don’t let the Holiday Blues consume you this year. Remember to take time for yourself, spend time with the ones you love, and create new memories that will last a lifetime.