How to Understand and Manage the Holiday Blues
The holiday season triggers a variety of strong emotions in nearly everyone. Most often, we talk about the warm, cozy feelings of family togetherness and holiday morning surprises. However, the holiday season can also bring up feelings of sadness and stress. Feelings of sadness and stress are commonly referred to as the “holiday blues” and can be rooted in a variety of issues. It’s important to understand why the holiday blues occur, what symptoms to look out for and how to cope when holiday depression comes to town.
What causes the holiday blues?
There are a number of reasons why people can be hit with the holiday blues every year in mid-November. These reasons can usually be categorized into a few main categories:
- Financial stress
- The pressure of high expectations
- Loneliness and isolation
- Existing mental illness exacerbated by the holidays
Any of these reasons can be enough to cause the holiday blues, and several of these factors can be present at once in people’s lives.
What are the signs of the holiday blues?
Like other types of depressive disorders, holiday depression is characterized by feelings of sadness that are persistent and/or recurring. The difference is, these feelings begin around the holiday season. Other signs to watch out for are:
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep disruption
- Depressed mood
- Feeling as though you aren’t worthy
- Feeling stressed, tense and anxious
- Not experiencing pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
How Can I Cope with the Holiday Blues?
If you are experiencing the holiday blues, it is a good idea to consult a mental health professional. They can assess your situation and work with you to generate solutions for your wellbeing.
Not only that, making some lifestyle changes during the busy holiday season can really help improve feelings of stress, loneliness and depression.
- Look for nurturing, healthy social connections. Isolation is a risk factor for major depressive disorder.
- Shop early and don’t make purchases that will put you under financial strain. It really is the thought that counts. Even more importantly, it’s the connection that counts.
- Make a calendar that outlines your holiday events and obligations. Anticipating and preparing lowers stress significantly.
- Go with the flow. Understand that families change with time, and that means traditions will change too. Create new ones and enjoy the connection that comes with them.
- Look after your physical wellbeing – the mind-body connection cannot be understated. Drink only in moderation, practice good sleep hygiene, and exercise regularly.
Who Can I Talk to When It’s All Too Much?
It’s important to get to the root of why the holiday blues are hampering your holiday joy. Talking to a Registered Clinical Counsellor in a safe space can equip you with the tools you need to make positive changes in your life.
Call Lynn Valley Counselling today for a consultation. We can help you on your healing journey.