Avoid the Holiday Blues

Dec 13, 2022

It's holiday blues season.  People around you may be feeling frustration, fatigue, loneliness, sadness, or extra stress.  They may be having some temporary holiday anxiety or seasonal depression.

Many of us experience dietary changes during the holiday season. Summer farmer's market and autumn's harvest season are coming to a close.  We may reach out for more packaged or pre-made foods if we feel rushed during the holiday season. 

When the colder weather hits our area, we often experience changes in our routines. Maybe that 3-mile walk on the trail doesn't seem as much fun when bundled up in a parka, scarf, and gloves.  Maybe we are a little more sedentary, catching up on some shows or movies we've been wanting to binge. Maybe we are rushing around at lunch hour or after work to catch bargain prices for our holiday gifts.

With prices on the rise for so many everyday expenses, maybe this year our budget isn't stretching to do as much holiday travel as usual. The holiday blues can show up when we feel unable to spend quality holiday time with our family or friends.

Some of us love all the holiday movies at this time of year. But after we watch them, maybe the holiday blues slip in a little. Those movies might set us up with unrealistic expectations for what a holiday looks like -- what families act like during the holidays, how friends gather together. What if we don't experience that in our reality. Or maybe the movies trigger sentimental memories in us -- memories of past holidays spent with loved ones who are no longer with us, memories that cannot be recreated this year for some reason.

In a 2015 survey, 62% of people admitted to experiencing the holiday blues.  In this year's economic situation, the holiday blues may feel intensified.  People around you may be experiencing temporary anxiety, depression, extra stress, or overwhelm.

How can we cope with the holiday blues?

  1.  Get exercise. If you can't make it to the gym or stick to your usual exercise schedule, try adding extra movement to your current activities. Park further from the door to get in extra steps. At the store get in some squats as you look at items on the low shelves. Let carrying groceries indoors be your farmer's carry.  And so on.
  2. Sleep.   If you already have regular bedtimes and wake-up times, stick to those. If you don't, set up a regular sleep schedule for the holiday season. Give your body the rest and recovery time it needs.
  3. Eat and Drink in moderation.  Enjoy the holiday's socializing opportunities. Sample the special holiday foods and drinks. Just don't overdo it. Eat in moderation -- most holiday foods are ones you can have at any time of year, so you don't need to eat them all in one meal or one day.  
  4. Stick to your normal routines. When you know what you will be doing when, you can cut down on the stress of the day. Doing the normal routines of your day can help you feel balanced and in control. There's comfort in that.
  5. Take time for yourself.  Do not skimp on your self-care routines in the rush of the holiday season. Take care of you. Keep yourself healthy and centered so that you can enjoy your holiday events.  Carve out the time to take care of you. If you don't, life will fill up those hours with something else.
  6. Set reasonable expectations for holiday activities.  Your family and friends might not be the stuff of a Hallmark Christmas movie. But you know them. And you know what you can expect.
  7. Make a to-do list.  Having a to-do list can help you with time management and with goal-setting. But keep the list simple. Don't schedule every minute of your day.  Leave time for spontaneity (and rest). Be open to going with the flow.

The Joyful Healing Soul-Care Clarity Cards are full of simple doable self-care activities that can nourish your soul, empower you, and help you maintain a wellness routine during the holiday season or throughout the year.