Beating The Holiday Blues

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1. Understanding the holiday blues: Let’s talk about why this is such a topic?

  • Expectations of what the holidays “should” be are unrealistic 
  • Pressure to feel merry & joyous
  • Holidays can be really difficult for people, particularly those who have had past trauma 
  • The holiday season can trigger depression and anxiety for a number a reasons
  • People may be in a rough financial situation. If you’re going through a difficult time, it can be tough to see others with extra joy in their lives.

2. What are some implications of the Covid19 Pandemic and the holidays?

  • Everything is different during COVID times — it’s OK!  Try letting go of the old and being open to doing things differently — a new way, allowing things to come.
  • You may not be able to make it home for the holidays.
  • People are dealing with increased isolation and loneliness.
  • Christmas and New Year’s Eve can come with higher levels of stress.

3. What are the symptoms?

  • Remembrances of holidays past: consciously or unconsciously, you have a mental record of previous holidays. Your mood may be contaminated by the specter of sad holidays past
  • Reminders of loved ones lost: thoughts turn to beloved family members and friends who have passed away
  • Financial hardship: One of the joys of the holiday season is to give to others. If your financial resources are severely limited at this time of year you are likely to feel insufficient
  • Most common symptom of the holiday blues is amplified depression
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing interest in things that used to bring you joy
  • Having trouble concentrating

4. How do we manage the holiday blues?

  • Limit alcohol – Limit your alcohol intake, and try not to keep it readily available around your house.
  • Get plenty of sleep – Try to go to bed at a specific time each night. Being well-rested can improve your mood
  • Learn to say “no” – Overscheduling and not making time for yourself can lead to emotional breakdowns.
  • Be open to new traditions – You may have an image of what you think the holiday should consist of, and this may not be what’s actually happening, allow new traditions to unfold.
  • Get support when mourning the loss of a loved one – If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be especially tough. Although it can be tempting to isolate yourself and grieve, it can be beneficial to get support you through this difficult time.
  • Loneliness: Find new ways to keep yourself occupied so you don’t dwell on your aloneness. 
  • Reframe your thinking: It’s important to remember you’re still in charge of your life.  Tell yourself that the holidays are just a season that will soon pass. 

5. What about movement and ways to manage physical symptoms in the body?

  • Exercise
  • Get sunlight when possible

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