It may not seem like it, but the holiday season is just around the corner. And, while the holiday season is usually a time of joy and happiness, for some of us, the holidays can bring us holiday blues, not holiday cheer. According to healthline.com, holiday blues, or seasonal depression, is a condition that affects roughly 14% of Americans. There are several ways you can deal with the stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness the holidays may bring.
Acknowledge the Blues
Accepting that you do have these feelings is the first step towards finding a healthy way to deal with them. Maybe this holiday season is a good time to explore why you may be feeling blue instead of merry during the holidays. Consider chatting with someone you trust about your feelings, whether that be a family member, a friend, spiritual mentor, consoler, or therapist. They may have helpful advice and support for you during this difficult time of the year.
Don’t Be a Stranger
If you’re struggling this holiday season, don’t isolate yourself! Reach out to people you love and trust. Spend time with your friends and people who love you or volunteer your time at a charitable organization to give yourself an opportunity to make a difference in your community this holiday season, when many charities need extra help!
Let Go of Perfectionism
A lot of stress around the holidays comes from an unrealistic vision of what we think the holidays should be. This perfectionism can take many forms, from the unrealistic expectation that you will find the perfect gift for every single person you know or throwing a Pinterest-perfect holiday party, to the pressure-filled goal of reconciling with estranged family members or getting over the loss of a loved one. Trying to fulfill all the obligations you think you should fulfill for this holiday season is often an impossible task and stretching yourself to accomplish as much as you can be harrowing!
Check Social Media Less . . . Check into Real Life More
Feeling that stress and guilt from trying to live up to that perfectionism we were talking about earlier? Social media can feed that perfectionism. Get together with friends this season! Even if big, loud holiday parties aren’t your cup of eggnog, getting together for coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a while may help you do some real connecting this holiday season.
Get Enough Sleep . . .
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember to get a good sleep’s sleep, despite the sometimes abnormal “holiday schedule” that may be taking hours away from your sleep cycle. Multiple studies have linked sleep deprivation with depression, so it’s super important to maintain a good sleep schedule as much as you can during the holiday season!
. . . And Enough Exercise
When you’re feeling down, exercise may be the farthest from your mind, especially if the weather’s dreary and wintery! However, exercising releases endorphins that will raise your heart beat and may lift your mood too.Try sticking to a regular exercise schedule, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. If you’re not feeling like exercising, try setting up a reward system to motivate yourself to get that vital exercise time in every day, such as watching an episode of your favorite tv show or splurging on a small gift for yourself after completing your exercise successfully.
If you feel you may need professional help to beat back depression or anxiety related to the holiday season, a psychotherapy session with a trained counselor may help you shift your perspective and gain the tools you need to beat those holiday blues!
The Hilarious World of Depression podcast