How to Manage Holiday Blues

The holidays can be a beautiful time of year filled with friends and family and although it’s a time of joy for many, it still can be stressful! Even “fun stress” like hosting your first Christmas party can have adverse effects on your health including: burnout, anxiety and depression once the high of the event is over!

Below we will talk about holiday stresses and blues, how to spot when you may be feeling the effects of them and how to manage your way through the holidays and beyond.

What are Holiday Blues

VeryWellMind defines holiday blues as the following:

“Feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December—are often referred to as the holiday blues or holiday depression. The holidays are usually viewed as a time of happiness and rejoicing. But for some people, it can be a period of painful reflection, sadness, anxiety, and depression.”

It’s important to note that people who enjoy the holidays can also suffer from holiday blues, as they can cause extra stress and anxiety, leading to negative mental health outcomes.

How to Spot Holiday Stress

Some symptoms of holiday blues can be very obvious, but others are often masked as they are considered socially or culturally normative behaviours. That said, it’s important to reflect on ‘your normal’ and understand if your feelings or behaviours are outside of your usual patterns. Some common holiday blues symptoms include:

  • Feelings of depression or anxiety that are either easily understood or appear to exist for ‘no reason’

  • Difference in sleep patterns or “tired but wired” feeling

  • Lose of appetite or binge eating

  • Feelings of frustration, irritability or snapping behaviour

  • Feeling of being unworthy or experiencing imposter syndrome

  • Reliance on alcohol or over indulgence in substances

  • Feelings of burnout, stress, physical exhaustion or brain fog

  • Deep sadness once the holidays are over

How to Manage Holiday Blues and Stress During The Holidays & Beyond

Individuals suffering with holiday blues are likely to brush off their symptoms or power through them, thinking they will be short lived. This can work for some but it can also cause continued issues that persist throughout the rest of the winter and into the new year. Because of this, it’s often better to establish a few coping strategies to help take the holiday edge off in real time. Here are some tools  you can use:

Fill Your Cup

There’s a lot of truth in the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Although the holidays are seen as a time for giving, charity and selflessness, it’s important to remember to extend that giving spirit to yourself. Taking time for yourself is especially important when you’re dealing with expectations from friends and family.

Pick 2 or 3 different products, activities or people that fill you with joy and make sure to indulge in them throughout the holidays.

Ask for Assistance

Who said you have to do it all yourself? Asking for help will not only lift a weight off your shoulders, but may also give someone else the opportunity to learn from you and spend quality time with you.

Short on helping hands? If you can afford it, outsource!

Did you know that food delivery services are offering full turkey dinners for Christmas? Or that some online retailers will beautifully gift wrap presents for you? Take advantage of convenience based services if you can!

Rely on Your Mental Health Team

Maybe you need an emergency pep talk in the week leading up to your family dinner or a helpful debrief as you enter the new year. You can rely on your therapist or mental health care provider to help you manage your health and wellbeing through the holiday season and beyond!

Looking for help? Contact Reflection Centre today for more information!

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