Holidays can be a time of joy for many… yes. But for others it can be the most depressing time of the year. For some people it can be a lonely, anxiety filled time of dread. You’re not a Scrooge and you’re most definitely not alone. The “holiday blues” are real and much more common than you think.
Here are some coping strategies that you can implement to help during this difficult time.
Here are 8 ways to help you get through the holidays:
1. Plan in advance
If you know that the holidays are a difficult time for you, try to plan something based in self-care. Do something that you enjoy doing. Do something out of your comfort zone.
2. Avoid Conflict with others
Chances are you are already feeling down and in a negative head space. This is not the time to call someone who you tend to get in to conflict with. Reach out to people who support you. If you do not have anyone in your life you falls in to this category, go to a local support group. There are resources for people who are having trouble around the holidays, or people struggling with depression.
3. Honor your loved ones’ memories
If you have lost a loved one around the holidays or it is the anniversary of this loss, plan to honor this person around this time. Remembering the good times, celebrating fond memories can help with holiday blues. Whether you visit a loved ones grave, visit a place that they enjoyed, create a memory box with special items, pictures, etc. and go through it on a special day.
4. Relaxation and Sleep
Schedule rest, relaxation and sleep. Listen to relaxation tapes, guided imagery or sounds of nature in an attempt to meditate and quiet your mind. Try to do things that will help you sleep. Do something for yourself like taking a meditation or yoga class. Another way to assist with this process is breath work. This is something that can be done on your own or in a class setting with a certified breath work expert.
If you have trouble with this one…you are not alone. This does not mean go to the gym if this is not your regular routine. But we know exercise produces endorphins and makes us feel better. So even if you simply go for a walk around your block or at the beach, you are producing endorphins that will help with the holiday blues.
Sunlight can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD so getting some exposure to sunlight can help with the holiday blues as well. Simply sit in the sun at the beach or you can use a lightbox if the weather is not conducive.
7. Focus on what matters
The holidays should not be all about the presents. Financial stress is real around the holidays and stress adds to the holiday blues. Try to rein in the stress. Get back to basics. Focus on self- care, people you care about and spend quality time, not quantity.
8. Try to be in self-care, not self-harm
Holidays can be a time to indulge. Instead try to focus on healthy eating by preparing healthy meals in advance. Limit alcohol and sugary foods because this will tend to create mood swings and depressive symptoms in excess.