10 tips on surviving the holiday blues

ProMedica General Health Team

        While the holiday season is known to bring joy, peace and togetherness; stress, tension and loneliness can also creep into the picture. Take hold of your negative feelings this holiday season by putting these tips into action.
        1. Spend time with friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself this holiday season. Take initiative — call a friend or someone you have lost touch with, go out or invite a friend over to see you. Don’t wait for others to meet your needs. Reach out, even when you don’t feel like socializing.
        2. Don’t try to do it all. Give yourself a break when preparing for the holidays. Prioritize what really needs to be done, allow time for yourself and give yourself the freedom to be less than perfect.
        3. Make a schedule. If you’re spending time with a group of friends or family, save yourself some stress and plan ahead. Plan structured activities to keep everyone occupied, especially if there are family conflicts brewing beneath the surface. Try a jigsaw puzzle, decorating cookies or group games to encourage people to interact together in a lighthearted way.
        4. Communicate your needs. No one can read your mind. Inform others of your preferences, needs and desires. Asking for and accepting help with holiday necessities can relieve you of a heavy burden.
        5. Focus on the positive. Emphasize what is good, not what is missing. Reflect on the good things that have happened in your life by listing the things that you are most grateful for. Avoid using holiday time with family as a forum to clear up conflicts or as a time to wish for all the things that you no longer have.
        6. Don’t overeat or overdrink. Alcohol is a depressant and can exaggerate the holiday blues. Sugar can wreak havoc in your system and cause your spirits and energy to crash as your blood sugar levels go down. Overeating may lead to a lack of self-esteem and feelings of guilt after the holidays. Use moderation when enjoying foods and drinks this holiday season.
        7. Limit your spending. Focus on spending time with family and friends during this holiday season rather than spending money, which may cause added anxiety. Make homemade gifts or food to share with your loved ones.
        8. Get some exercise. Exercise raises your energy levels and helps fight off depression. Exercise outside for the added benefit of getting some vitamin D from the sun.
        9. Do something for someone else. Give the gift of time or talent this season – volunteer, contribute financially or donate clothes, gifts or food to a local organization.
        10. Try something new. Experiment with new recipes, attend a holiday concert or play, join a club or try a craft project. Also, don’t forget about the classic holiday activities that you can enjoy free of charge, like looking at the holiday decorations or window shopping without buying anything.
        If you are feeling the holiday blues this year, remember that you’re not alone. It’s impossible to feel happy, grateful and joyful throughout every moment of the holiday season. Don’t let the inevitable moments of sadness, fatigue or anxiety throw you off course – practice these tips to help you shake the blues.
        Everyone feels down sometimes. If your holiday blues are constant and keep you from doing the things you love, talk to your primary care provider for help. Learn more about the symptoms of depression and self-care strategies that can support your mental health.


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