For most people, the holiday season is a time of love, giving, and cheer. However, the holiday season is not always a jolly time for some people. It can trigger feelings of depression and sadness for a number of different reasons. Whether it is from the loss of a loved one, a difficult financial situation, or perhaps you are not able to make it home for the holidays, or your family situation is not ideal, the holidays can add a lot of extra anxiety, stress, or sadness.
Tips for Getting Over the Holiday Blues
The winter season is also a time where symptoms of depression can increase and causes many to suffer from what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. If you are one of the millions that deal with the holiday blues, there are some tips and tools you can use to counter some of the weights that may be dragging you down.
Understand Your Patterns: One of the best things you can do for yourself is understanding the patterns of your mood swings. It is important to identify it and interrupt it. At the very moment when your mood starts to go down, you need to recognize that your inner voice is at work. Make sure to point out the ways that you are emotionally triggered. Something as simple as watching a movie that triggers you is enough to cause you to get caught up in your feelings. Once you begin to notice the cyclical thinking in your life and how it brings you down, you then have to find a way to come out of this state. In other words, when you see the pattern, you can stop yourself from acting in ways that make you feel even worse.
Don’t Isolate Yourself: Isolating yourself is a major risk factor in making any depression or sadness worse. The big problem with sadness and depression is that it makes you want to hide away at home. And when you are on your own during the holidays, reaching out can make this even more difficult. Try looking for different ways that you can enjoy social interaction with others, even if you are not able to go home for the holidays. Even friends or co-workers can offer support for you, and would likely be more than happy to have you around during the holidays if they know you are alone.
Stay Active: It can be hard to stick to a workout routine when you are feeling down or when the weather is cold and dark. Staying physically active plays a very important role in reducing and preventing symptoms of depression and sadness. Even leisurely physical activity can be enough to pull you away from feeling down. Don’t feel like you have to be at the gym slaving over the treadmill or the weights just to lift your spirits. Something as simple as going to a walk is enough or taking a class is enough to keep the blues to a minimum.
Set Limits For You: The holidays can mean that more people are demanding your time, energy, and resources. Holiday invites can begin to feel like social obligations. Favors for friends and family can turn into time-consuming projects that you didn’t plan on having. By learning how to say no and knowing your limits, you can avoid overcommitting. This doesn’t mean you should say no to everything, but you should make sure you leave time for yourself too. Even just 20 or 30 minutes a day to listen to music, to physical activity, or read a book can do wonders for anxiety and depression.
Speak With a Psychotherapist
If the holiday blues is still turning into something more serious even after trying some of these tips, your symptoms may be a sign of more serious problems. At this point, it would be best to speak with a therapist about possible treatment and counseling options. Dealing with the holiday blues is not an easy thing to face, but it isn’t something that you have to do on your own. We are ready to help you get through whatever you are struggling with.