What are Holiday Blues?
Do you ever feel like when the holidays are approaching your mental health starts declining? If you answered yes to that question, you are not alone. The Holiday Blues can be defined as feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety surrounding the holiday season. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 44% of women and 33% of men find the holidays to be depressing, stressful and mentally exhausting.
The holiday season is often referred to as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” however for many people it can be quite the opposite. Some may feel that their loneliness becomes unbearable during this time. On the other hand, it’s a struggle watching others experience the joys of family and festivities. In the era of social media, where other peoples highlights are at your fingertips it can be a lot for your mind to consume. In this article, you will discover mental health tips to cope with these feelings and embark on traditions of your own to preserve your mental wellness. It’s important to note that the Holiday Blues is usually temporary but can overlap with preexisting mental health diagnoses such as seasonal affective disorder or clinical depression.
Signs, Symptoms, & Triggers
Knowing how to recognize the blues and how to activate your coping skills is the key! Experiencing the Holiday blues can make everything seem dark around you, which is why it’s important to talk to a mental health professional about your symptoms. They can help you navigate through this emotionally turbulent time as well as identify coping strategies that work for you. The holiday blues usually begin around November or December and can begin to lift after the New Year. Here are a few signs to look for:
- sleeping more or sleeping less
- loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
- feeling like you want to isolate yourself
- sadness ranging from mild to intense
- feeling anxious or worried
- irritable and or depressed mood
- Expectations/Disappointment: it’s important we release all the preconceived notions we have in our minds about what the holidays should look like. It is healthy to start to think of ways you choose to celebrate or not based on where you are presently in your life
- Loneliness/Isolation: it is not unusual to feel like you want to curl up and be alone when you feel sad or depressed. However, you want to do the opposite; isolating yourself will only make you feel worse
- Excess alcohol and food consumption: seeing others enjoy food and drinks as a part of their holiday festivities can also make you feel this is an appropriate way to fight the blues. You must remember that alcohol is a depressant and will increase your depressive feelings. Overeating is also a negative coping skill that will not yield positive results.
Healthy Ways to Cope
Let’s face it, suffering from the Holiday Blues is a very challenging and complex thing to have to endure. The goal is for you to feel better using positive coping skills. Here are (5) professional tips on how to cope and stay mentally well during the holidays.
- Get Moving: whether it’s a new workout class, yoga, or dancing around your bedroom, moving your body will definitely lift your mood. Try to get a consistent exercise routine going throughout the holiday season.
- Talk it Out: part of our mission to stop isolation requires being social. Call up a trusted friend or book a session with a mental health therapist to discuss your sadness in regards to the holidays.
- Create Something: make something with your hands or finish that DIY project you’ve been putting off forever. Unlocking creativity is a healthy distraction to combat your depression and or anxiety.
- Practice Mindfulness: Be in the moment, acknowledge where you are and how grateful you are to be in the present space, this helps with ruminating in the negative feelings surrounding the holiday season.
- Create new Traditions: find something you’re passionate about and make it a tradition. Find something you do every holiday season that makes you feel good, it can be as small as re-watching your favorite movies or a community service opportunity where you can volunteer to give back to others.
If you need support this holiday season, reach out to Youme Healthcare to get matched with a mental health professional at Youmehealthcare.com