During the holiday season, we sing songs of joy, of being merry and of hopeful anticipation. For some, however, the holidays are not a time of joy and hope, but instead can be difficult and depressing times. This is commonly known as the holiday blues, which can typically run from November through December.
To help fight the holiday blues, try these self-care tips:
Remember to SEE – sleep, eat right, and exercise
While the holidays are hectic times, we must make sure to care for our physical needs.
Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Adults with young children may laugh, but sleep is vital to our daily functioning.
Eating right during the holidays can be difficult and almost seems like an oxymoron. With parties and celebrations, the opportunities to skimp on nutrition are everywhere. Be careful to not let occasional indulgences become daily; fuel your body with good, nutritious food. Limit alcohol as well because alcohol is a depressant and drinking too much can worsen other negative feelings.
With all the busy-ness of the holidays, exercise may take a back seat. Don’t forget that even a 10-minute walk can do wonders for body and mind. Schedule time for exercise.
Examine your expectations
Holidays have become increasingly commercialized, with businesses counting on sales for greater profits. Be careful not to buy into an overly commercialized holiday, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety if we think our celebration doesn’t measure up to expectations. Set a budget for your holiday gift-giving and entertaining and stick to it. Plan a holiday that fits you.
Seek out support
While feeling sad or blue may make you want to stay home, reaching out and seeking friends can help. That is challenging during this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, but phone calls or video chats such as Google Meet can provide interaction. Look for ways to connect. Volunteering can be a good way to reach out to others, also.
Lean into faith
While the holidays may bring up many negative feelings, as Christians, we recognize that we are celebrating the greatest miracle the world has known – God becoming flesh, being born in a manger. Lean into your faith and spirituality throughout the holiday season to combat the blues and anxiety we may experience. Lifting our minds out of our current circumstances and focusing on God’s wonder can change our perspective. Practices such as prayer and meditation can bring focus and mindfulness during this hectic time.
Understand that it’s OK to feel down at times – no one is happy all the time. Be careful of the pressures that the holidays may bring. Recognizing when you’re down and knowing how to help yourself – watching a funny TV show, talking to friends and family, going for a walk or run, reading a good book or doing a favorite craft, can all help improve a blue mood.
If the blues last longer than expected or significantly impair daily functioning, you may want to talk to a doctor or mental health professional for help. The holiday blues typically leave as we get into January. With the COVID-19 pandemic, most mental health resources are available virtually.
Wishing all a merry Christmas and happy holidays!