The holiday season is upon us whether we are ready for it or not! The special time that is supposed to be a filled with joy, excitement and great hope, often can be a time when some of us experience sadness and loneliness! This is what we call the “Holiday Blues.”
We can feel blue at many times in our lives and at different times of the year however December is a time when it seems like the whole world is celebrating and we feel left out. Holiday Blues is usually a short-term depression yet is severe enough that sometimes professional intervention is necessary.
What causes Holiday Blues?
The most common cause is stress. Financial pressures, loss of loved ones, broken family relationships, divorce, fatigue, the over-commercialization of the season, and unrealistic expectations that can be completely overwhelming. This produces anxiety that is difficult to manage.
What are the signs of Holiday Blues?
You can become irritable, experience headaches, overeat, feelings of sadness, and have trouble sleeping, overindulge on alcohol.
The University of Maryland recommends the following Do’s and Don’ts to help manage the holiday blues.
Do follow the three basics for good health:
…get plenty of rest.
Do set realistic goals:
…organize your time.
…make a budget and follow it.
Do let go of the past and create new or different ways to celebrate.
Do allow yourself to feel sad, lonely or melancholy — these are normal feelings, particularly at holiday times.
Do something for someone else.
Do enjoy activities that are free.
Do spend time with people who care about you.
Do spend time with new people or a different set of friends or family.
Do contact someone with whom you have lost touch.
Do give yourself a break — plan to prepare (or buy) one special meal, purchase one special gift, and take in one special event. The rest can be ordinary, but will seem special because of the time of year and the people you’re with.
Do treat yourself as a special holiday guest.
The DON’Ts of managing holiday blues:
Don’t drink too much alcohol.
Don’t overindulge in holiday foods, especially those that are high in sugar and fat.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself or others.
Don’t dwell on the past.
Don’t focus on what you don’t have.
Don’t spend money you don’t have.
All people experience depression and all people will experience the Holiday Blues at sometime in their life. If you are feeling blue reach out to someone! You can talk to a friend, speak to your pastor or seek a professional counselor. Crossroads Counseling Center staff are experienced and ready to help at any time.