Making It Through The Holiday’s: Dealing With Holiday Blues, Depression & Anxiety

I love the Holiday’s this is my favorite time of the year.  Beginning with Thanksgiving where all of my family gather together and enjoy eating, fun, eating, laughter, eating, watching football, sharing what we are thankful for and oh did I say eating?  Then Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of Christ, giving and receiving gifts and of course eating Christmas Dinner.

Now don’t get me wrong even though I love the holidays they can still be stressful and I have learned to plan ahead as much as possible and to practice self-care.  I also realize that this time of the year can be very difficult especially if you have lost a loved one or you experience seasonal depression and anxiety.

Holiday Blues can affect anyone even if you love the holidays.  It is so important to know the causes, your particular triggers and how to cope.

 

What causes Holiday Blues?

  • Stress

* Fatigue                                                                                            

  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Over-commercialization
  • Financial constraints
  • Grief & Loss

 

Know Your Trigger Points

  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Physical Demands

 

Coping with Stress, Depression & Anxiety

  • Acknowledge your feelings. If a loved one has recently died or you aren’t able to be with your loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness or grief. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one, a “memory stocking” or light a candle in memory of the person you lost.
  • Be realistic. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to.  Set differences aside. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Practice forgiveness. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
  • Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make one big food-shopping trip.  Expect travel delays, especially if you’re flying.
  • Learn to say no. Believe it or not, people will understand if you can’t do certain projects or activities. If you say yes only to what you really want to do, you’ll avoid feeling resentful, bitter and overwhelmed.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Some indulgence is OK, but overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.  Continue to get plenty of sleep and schedule time for physical activity.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Steal away to a quiet place for a few moments of solitude.
  • Forget about perfection. Holiday TV specials are filled with happy endings. But in real life, people don’t usually resolve problems within an hour or two.  Accept imperfections in yourself and in others.
  • Seek support. If you feel isolated or down, seek out family members and friends, or community, religious or social services. They can offer support and companionship. Consider volunteering at a community or religious function.

*Skip it.  Really. If you just can’t deal with the holiday’s it’s ok to take a break this year.  But before you get to this extreme consider if you can simplify it.

 

When to Seek Professional Help

Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for several weeks, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.  You may need some type of low dose medication.

What is most important is not in the holiday parties, shopping, gift giving or festivities, it’s in the real meaning of giving thanks for our many blessings and celebrating the greatest gift of all-Jesus.  I wish you love, joy and peace during this holiday season.

 

Live Well,

 

B

27 Comments

  1. It’s so sad that ppl face holiday blues. It’s a season of joy and I’m glad you’re sharing these tips with people.

  2. This was so useful. A lot of people struggle over the holidays for many reasons so this could help a lot of people.

  3. The holiday is a crazy time of season where it’s the best most wonderful and then a time of missing people who are no longer with us to celebrate.

  4. Great pointers! I have a severe distaste for over commercialization. I avoid malls after December and try to create rare handmade gifts as far as ppossible!

  5. These are really helpful and important topic. This timely tips are useful, especially for those who are depressed. Glad you are sharing awareness about this.

  6. I do not enjoy getting the holiday blues but sometimes it is hard to avoid even though it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But sadly, every now and then, the blues just come rolling in

  7. Depression and anxiety is so common during the holiday season but less talked about. It can be sometimes so overwhelming and stressful to expect and try to do everything so perfect, with careful planning and taking time for self-care can change the aspect of it. Talking with family, friends, or taking professional help is a great way to deal with the holiday blues.

  8. When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine that Holidays bring so much stress and depression. But now I believe it.

  9. I have undergone such troublesome situation in holidays in the year of 2014. So I know how painful it is.. Thanks for the sharing this post..

  10. Facing a difficult time during holidays is something that makes you depressed.. I have undergone such one holiday in the year 2014.. Thanks for sharing your tops that could be proved helpful for everyone facing such situation..

  11. Wonderful post on coping with stress and anxiety. We all suffer from these at some time of life.

  12. The holidays are very stressful for me. I have the sense of failing to fulfill all the requirements they have. Cooking for a variety of people and giving everyone a gift they will love. While I know its all in my head, I can’t help but feel burdened at times by it.

    1. Author

      Maybe gradually doing less will help and only doing what is absolutely necessary. Sometimes we have to say no for our own well being.

  13. I think the best advice you gave us planning ahead – I used to struggle a lot with stress and anxiety because of how my expectations would easily get out of hand regarding how things would go.
    As I started to plan ahead, things got easier. especially when I started to accept that things might not be perfect or exactly as I want them 🙂

    1. Author

      Good that you are taking steps to keep your stress level down.

  14. This is such a great post and one I think so many, including myself can relate to. You are SO right, it is good to accept that its ok for us to feel sad if we can’t be with certain people, its ok to acknowledge those feelings because blocking it out can make it so much worse later on. I hope you will have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

    1. Author

      Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well.

  15. Depression and anxiety is such a hard thing to overcome. And I can see how these can be triggered during the holidays.

  16. When I used to tell people about this type of anxiety or depression, they thought I was just making a big stink over nothing. But, I truly believe that people need to know their triggers for this sort of thing. And, equally important, stop trying to please everyone at the cause of your suffering during this time of year.

    Great post.

    1. Author

      You are absolutely right.

  17. This is such a beautiful post! I get stressed and anxious around the Christmas holidays because I used to spend them with my grandma, and she died… since then I rejected Christmas. This is why I go away every year for the winter holidays, to somewhere as far away as possible, on a different continent.

    1. Author

      I’m so sorry for your loss, I think you should spend the holidays however makes your happy.

  18. This is a really neat topic to talk about. I never really thought about this but all the points you talk about are things that have crossed my mind before. I think one thing that gets me every year is the Holiday cheer and the build up of the Holiday season and then afterwards all the pretty stuff is taken down and it’s just drab. I wouldn’t say I feel depressed afterward but it’s a bit of a let down.

    1. Author

      Yes it can be, I try to keep looking forward to new beginnings.

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