The holiday blues are very real and affect a surprising number of people. According to NAMI (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), 64 percent of those surveyed admitted to feeling affected by the holiday blues and 24 percent said that they were affected a lot. There is so much hype and high expectations around this time of year, it’s easy to understand why the holidays bring so many people down. The symptoms to watch for include: exhaustion, fatigue, sleep problems, loss of interest or pleasure in the activities you usually like, trouble making decisions, difficulty concentrating, loneliness and social withdrawal, and feeling irritable or grumpy. It’s a shame that the holidays, which are supposed to be so joyous, can lead to so much misery.
Here’s a list of 12 tips for a blues-free holiday season:
- Remember that all the ordinary tasks of daily living continue throughout the holiday season, so stick to your regular routines as much as possible.
- Get enough sleep.
- Be careful about alcohol consumption.
- Stay active. Don’t be a couch potato, binge-watching holiday TV while drinking eggnog and eating massive quantities of junk food. Keep your work-out and yoga practice on your schedule, no matter what. Put on those skis, snowboards, snowshoes or ice skates and get moving.
- Remember that every holiday decoration you put up has to come down. So, decorate to your heart’s content but only as much as won’t stress you out when it’s time to disassemble your masterpiece.
- Avoid overcommitting. It’s impossible to party all night, work all day and stay in a good mood.
- Be realistic about your budget when it comes to gifting and partying.
- Be social in whatever way works for you. You aren’t obligated to attend every function you’re invited to and don’t feel like you have to stay from start to finish.
- Enjoy holiday activities, parties and events but don’t overdo it.
- Make time for relaxation and solitude to help you stay calm and balanced.
- Be attentive to your own emotional, physical and spiritual needs and engage in good self-care.
- Use social media in a positive and mindful way. Remember, Facebook and Instagram are about sharing the good stuff; what you see is not a complete and accurate representation of other people’s whole lives. Avoid comparisons. Share your own best moments and remember that what other people are sharing are only their best ones too.
Above all, keep your expectations in check. Take the time to think about the experiences you want from this holiday season. Put the things that bring you joy at the top of your to-do list and cross off the ones that fill you with dread. That’s the secret to enjoying the holidays with grace and comfort and avoiding the holiday blues.
Photo by Ingo Joseph.