8 tips to help beat the holiday blues
Now that the turkey leftovers are finished, the holiday season is in full gear.
‘Tis the season of joy and reconnecting with family and friends, but this time of year can also be stressful with endless to-do lists, decorating, shopping, cards, parties and baking. The holidays also can be a lonely time for those who have recently lost a loved one or are going through a divorce, and family parties can be a time of celebration or filled with family drama.
So how do people combat the holiday blues and enjoy holiday gatherings?
- Make gratitude the focus of the day. It’s difficult to be resentful when gratitude is the focus. Count your blessing and express your gratitude for yourself and others.
- Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to be perfect. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you.
- Hone your people watching skills. When family members engage in unhealthy interactions, learn to disengage and become an “observer” rather than a participant. Don’t add fuel to the fire.
- Give something personal. Money can be a major stressor. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal, but still inexpensive. Use words instead of a gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself: Will you remember this one year from now? If not, let it go.
- Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.
- Don’t overindulge in eating or drinking. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with difficult situations during the holidays.
- Get support if you need it. The holidays can sometimes trigger depression. It can be especially difficult if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship. You may think that you’ll get over “the blues” on your own, but most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about options for counseling or support groups to help with your feelings of intense sadness or hopelessness. A psychologist could also recommend medication to help with depression, if needed.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.