are a time of happiness, joy, and fun-filled celebrations spent with family and
friends, right? Well, not always.
the holidays fall far short of these expectations, which can result in
increased stress, mild depression, and feelings of anxiety. This emotional
reaction is known as “the holiday blues.”
As you think
about the holiday blues, you may remember a holiday that left you feeling less
than festive a particular situation that sparked your holiday blues. So, what
to do? Before considering solutions, let’s review a few things that may fuel
these feelings. Keep track of how many of these describe your typical holidays:
holiday expectations, expecting a Hallmark holiday
time demands, work, shopping, parties, decorating, family obligations
memories of past holiday celebrations
family relationships that may worsen during the holidays
on gifts, travel, and entertainment
in alcohol and holiday foods
If any of
these rings a bell, don’t despair. There are things you can do to keep the
holiday blues away.
healthy habits. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly.
realistic expectations. Don’t expect a perfect Hallmark holiday, it doesn’t exist.
Avoid comparing your holiday to what you see on social media. Remember, most
people only post the good stuff. Don’t expect your family members to get along during
the holidays when there is conflict throughout the year.
budget. Stick to it. Overspending only worsens the holiday blues.
appropriate limits. Prioritize demands on your time and say no to certain
invitations and activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
yourself. Avoid overextending yourself so you don’t end up feeling resentful
Help someone in need or donate a gift to a needy child or family.
festive community activities. Many of these activities are free.
your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant and can intensify the holiday
excessive consumption of holiday foods. Indulging will only add to your stress
and feelings of guilt. Eat a healthy snack before going to a holiday party.
Hunger will set you up to overindulge.
If trying to
put all of these tips into action feels like too much to tackle, just pick a
few that you think will prove most beneficial and give them a try this year.
holidays, review the list and see how you did. Do you need to add things to
your list next year to further improve your holidays? If yes, make those
decisions now while the thought is fresh on your mind, and have your 2019
holiday plan ready to go. By being proactive, you will have one less thing on
your to-do list next year.
are a wonderful opportunity to connect with others, to relax and reflect, and
to relish feelings of love and gratitude. To keep the
holiday blues from diminishing this special time, be mindful of the behaviors
and situations that fuel stress and negative feelings. Proactively make choices
and decisions that will make your holiday a healthy and enjoyable one.
I hope the
above message is helpful. If you have any questions about the article or other
health related issues, please call Parish Nurse Cheryl Letendre RN,BSN, CPN.
Web/MD: How To Beat The Holiday Blues, by Saundra Jain MA, PsyD, LPC