The holiday blues are real and can severely disrupt your life. The holidays are generally considered a time of joy, but it can be a period of uncomfortable reflection, sadness and loneliness for some people.
Sensations of unhappiness that last throughout the holiday, generally from November through December, are frequently referred to as the holiday blues. While less severe than depression, these feelings can significantly influence your capability to operate throughout this time of year.
The holidays frequently provide a full selection of demands – cooking meals and baking, cleaning, shopping and entertaining, to name just a few, and if coronavirus is spreading in your community, then you might be feeling extra stress. Additional tension, impractical expectations, financial issues or even sentimental memories accompanying the season can be a reason for the holiday blues.
You might have the ability to alleviate your symptoms by making a few lifestyle changes, such as limiting your alcohol intake and scheduling time with loved ones. If lifestyle modifications are not eliminating your signs, you ought to talk with your physician.
Individuals who currently deal with a mental health condition must take additional care to tend to their overall health throughout this time.
The holiday blues’ most typical symptom is a consistent or repeating sensation of sadness that begins throughout the holiday. This sensation might differ in strength and period of time. Some individuals may feel down periodically; however, they may also experience short durations of feeling more positive.
Balancing the needs of shopping, parties, household responsibilities and visitors may add to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. People who do not view themselves as depressed might develop stress responses and might experience several physical and psychological symptoms consisting of:
- Lack of focus
- Feeling irritable or upset
- Absence of satisfaction in regular activities
- Losing interest in activities that you enjoy
- Difficulty making decisions
- Sleeping far more or much less than usual
- Withdrawing from family and friends
Even when participating in things they normally enjoy, individuals with the holiday blues have trouble enjoying themselves. Activities related to the holiday itself, such as gatherings, family meals and gift-giving, might set off feelings of stress and anxiety or sadness.
In seasonal depression or a real depressive disorder, signs may continue beyond the holidays or might be more severe.
Many seasonal elements can set off the holiday blues, such as less sunshine, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol, or the inability to be with pals. These are all elements that can seriously affect your state of mind.
Because the holidays mark an approaching new year, people might likewise start to reflect on the past year and experience sensations of remorse or failure. They may consider the objectives they had and what they wished to do or accomplish and feel upset if they did not satisfy those expectations.
Sometimes even having high hopes for the season can result in tension, stress, anxiety and sadness. The over-commercialization of the holidays produces the expectation that people are supposed to feel endless happiness and holiday cheer. It develops pressure to handle everything in a precise method, which adds another stress factor to a currently hectic time of year.
Another common and probably most obvious reason that people feel down around the holidays is money. Trying to buy the best gifts and keep up with everyone’s wish list can take a toll on your financial and mental health. Your credit card becomes your best friend and eventually your worst enemy once the holidays have passed and the bleak reality of accumulated debt starts to set in. That is why it’s best to get out of debt as quickly as possible if you’re already in debt and if you find yourself falling deeper and deeper in a spending frenzy, then debt will be the grinch that stole your financial freedom.
Numerous things can add to the holiday blues. Whether it is something as simple as overscheduling yourself or a much deeper emotional requirement, it’s possible to overcome your sensations and start anew.
There are particular things you can do to help avoid the holiday blues. Here are some suggestions for managing your health – both psychological and physical – throughout the holiday:
- Accept your feelings: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not feeling jolly; lots of people experience unhappiness and sensations of loss throughout the holidays.
- Speak with someone: Do not ignore the power of friends, household members, mentors and next-door neighbors.
- To-do lists: Stay organized and on top of the essential tasks at hand
- Budget for holidays: This will keep you from overspending and reduce financial stress and money problems.
- Consume responsibly: It can be easy to overindulge around the holidays; however, extreme drinking will only make you feel more depressed.
- Get a quality night of sleep as often as possible
- Volunteer: Helping others is an excellent mood lifter. To offer, contact your local United Way, or call locations such as regional schools, health centers, museums, or worship places to ask about volunteer chances in your area.
- Exercise: Even if it is a stroll through the park, it will help
- Listen to music or read a book to relax
Unless you are identified with a more severe case of depression, your physician will probably not prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. You can manage the holiday blues by yourself with lifestyle modifications and social support in many cases. Your doctor may likewise refer you to a psychological health professional for psychotherapy or counseling.
Research studies have discovered phototherapy is effective in dealing with individuals that struggle with SAD. Phototherapy is a treatment involving about a half-hour a day of direct exposure to artificial sunshine. For numerous sufferers of SAD, phototherapy can be an extremely reliable treatment either alone or in a mix with medicines, psychotherapy, or both.
Even if the holiday blues usually are short-term, that does not mean that talking with a mental health professional will not help. Your therapist can work with you to determine negative thinking patterns that contribute to sensations of unhappiness and anxiety and replace such thoughts with more helpful ones, a technique that is referred to as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
How to Assist Others
Be a great listener
Be an encouraging listener and motivate conversations about concerns. Acknowledge challenging feelings, including a sense of loss if family or friends have passed away or moved away.
Invite them out and welcome them to parties. Consider their requirements, such as transportation or special diets.
Offer to help with their cooking or cleaning and other preparations such as decorating their homes.
Motivate them to talk with their healthcare provider
The holidays can cause individuals to feel distressed and depressed. Frequently, older adults do not recognize they are depressed. Let the person know that depression is a treatable medical illness and not something to be embarrassed about.