Beating the Holidays Blues

Beating the holidays blues
Click here to download the “Beating the Holiday Blues” brochure

The holidays are an important part of the year for many people, but for some they are a source of pain, stress and worry. Not everyone enjoys the holidays for a variety of reasons, whether it’s the memories of past events or feelings of loss and pressure.


If you find yourself feeling depressed or stressed out during the holidays, here are some tips that might help.


Avoid the Pursuit of Movie Moments. Many people approach the holidays with high expectations, thanks to movies and television shows that depict the end of the year as magical.  When reality doesn’t provide the movie moment, we can become disappointed in ourselves or our families.  Instead, change your vision of the holidays and focus more on the positive.


Overhaul the Schedule. There’s only so much time during the holidays one can devote to shopping, cooking and entertaining.  If you think you are trying to do too much, you probably are.  Think carefully before adding anything to your calendar.  And remember to make time for yourself; spending 15 minutes alone may refresh you enough to find that last-minute gift.


Take “Should” Out of Your Vocabulary. Often we make plans, buy gifts and accept or offer invitations not out of true desire, but because we “should.” If it is difficult to decide what you want to do, then think about what you DON’T want to do.  If you feel upset or hurt after visiting with certain people, change your plans or limit your time with them.  Create your own traditions. 


Watch What You Eat and Drink. During the holidays, we often eat more and exercise less.  Try to maintain a balanced diet and walk off the extra cookies and chocolate.  Since alcohol is a depressant – instead of lifting your spirits, it can dampen them – drink only in moderation and designate your driver before heading to parties.


Don’t Give in to Over-Gifting. Set your budget in advance and don’t deviate.  And if you’re worried about overspending this holiday season, give gifts of service, like “mommy’s night out;” homemade, hand-delivered soup; or a tin full of cookies.  Or make a donation to a local charity in a friend’s name. 


Accept Your Feelings and Forgive Yourself. Loss of loved ones, being alone, illness, and feelings of regret or sadness happen in life, but these feelings can cause us to feel cut off from everyone else enjoying the holidays.  Acknowledge what is bothering you, talk to others, explore ideas about how to cope through books or other resources, and search for small ways to stay connected with family and friends. 


Make the Holidays Your Year-Long Gift. Imagine having 12 months to practice peacefulness, give charitably, and spend time with loved ones.  What you aspire to accomplish in a few weeks – potentially leaving you drained and frustrated – can easily be extended throughout the new year with positive results for all.