Thanksgiving is the start of Holiday season. A period in time filled with family, food, gifts, fun, and much much chaos. While it is a joyous time, many people also experience symptoms of depression, or the Holiday Blues. All of the celebration can cause extreme stress which contributes to feelings of depression. It can be disappointing to feel such sadness during a time that was looked forward to with joyous anticipation, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are a number of ways to avoid the Holiday Blues so that you can enjoy and celebrate. Here are some tools to help ease the inevitable stress of the Holidays and allow you to enjoy.
- Avoid triggers such as over indulging in food, alcohol or celebrating which can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion.
- Prioritize and delegate. Don’t overbook yourself so that you cannot take the time to enjoy each event. Prioritize a few that you most want to attend and spend more time engaged and enjoying those, rather than trying to fit a little time here and there into all of them. Delegate holiday tasks such as cooking, shopping, and cleaning. It’s okay to ask for help. It is your Holiday too.
- Don’t set unrealistic expectations for the Holidays. They will never quite be the same as when you were a child and every year is different. Rather than expect each year to be better, make the year you are in the best you can in the moment and remember things will go wrong, and it is okay.
- Allow yourself to feel negative feelings if they occur. The Holidays do not automatically remove resentment, sadness or anger. Feeling them is okay. Allowing time to spend with that is okay, but then find something to make yourself feel better. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but appreciating the small things of the Holidays will help remind you of the reasons you enjoy them and to experience positive feelings as well.
- Do something positive for others. Spend time volunteering or participating in a giving tree for the under privileged. It will help you appreciate what you have and give you a sense of warmth as you spread Holiday joy to those who are less fortunate.
- Take time for yourself. The business of the Holidays is no reason to forget what makes you happy and to take time to take care of yourself. This is always important.
- If financial burdens are the cause, reframe your thinking. Focus on spending time together, making memories, rather than on the material things and gifts. Spend time outside, go for walks, do a craft, play a game, start a new tradition.
- Talk to someone. There is no reason to be alone in your feelings. If you don’t have the family or social support, there are professionals that are available to help you beat the Holiday Blues.