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Coping With The Holiday Blues

Posted Dec 14 2011 10:03pm

avoiding stress, causes of holiday blues, Dr. Mommy Online, health tips, holiday blues, holiday stress, holiday stress tips, managing holiday stress, managing stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas music, decorations, family gatherings are simply just part of this holiday season. Although it’s meant to be a time of rejoicing, there are many that are not rejoicing but are dealing with stress and depression. I wish I could tell you there is a quick cure for depression but we all know there isn’t. However, there are some things you can do to cope with depression during the holidays and below I share a few.

What Causes the Holiday Blues?

The blues are usually triggered by sadness. However what may cause sadness to one person may not to another. Some of what may cause the holiday blues:

  • fatigue
  • stress
  • financial stress
  • family commitments
  • unrealistic expectations
  • loss of a family member
  • away from family

What can you do?

If you suffer from the holiday blues associated with any of the items mentioned or perhaps you have personal issues it is important to first be aware. Trying to avoid the situation will merely make the feelings worse. 

Don’t over commit yourself. Of course you may be thinking this is easier said than done, but you have to learn to say no. One of the biggest culprits of holiday stress or the holiday blues is overcommitment and the fatigue that accompanies it. 

Financial stress is one that can be curtailed. Determine what you want to accomplish this holiday season. Will it take money to make your holiday season a great one? Truly think about this question before answering. Avoid the financial strain and make gifts, or give of your time instead. The gift of time is much more appreciated than a costly item that will not only break your bank but will be quickly forgotten.

Take care of your health. In order to truly enjoy the holiday season and limit the stress and depression that may accompany it, you must take care of you! It’s as easy as sleeping, eating and exercising. Sleep is essential to your overall health and getting the required 6 to 7 hours of sleep will help your body deal with the stressors it will encounter. Making wise choices in the foods you eat as well as including your daily exercise will help to minimize the stress. Watch your portion sizes and don’t overindulge on one food item. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cookies and desserts however, instead of reaching for the double chocolate chip cookies choose the oatmeal raisin instead.

One of the best ways to reduce the holiday blues is to be around people. As much as you would like to hide in a corner it is best to go out and mingle. Getting out of the house is essential and will help to clear your mind of all the tasks you think you must fulfill. If overcommitment is part of the problem, ask your family and friends to help with the shopping, cooking and decorating. If this doesn’t help perhaps joining a support group will help. Understanding that you are not alone in your feelings and that others may be feeling the same way will help you manage your troubles.

Tips to help you avoid the holiday blues:

  • Pace yourself
  • Set realistic goals for yourself
  • Make a list and mark each item off when accomplished
  • Live in the moment – life is too short
  • If you’re lonely consider volunteering your time
  • Focus on today and not on the past – avoid reminiscing the ‘good ole days’
  • Let others help in the holiday planning
  • Keep track of your spending
  • Limit your alcoholic drinks
  • Enjoy the free activities such as viewing the holiday lights or playing in the snow
  • Spend time with loving and caring individuals
The holiday blues can be managed well by following the tips shared and by seeking out social support. Most importantly know that you are not alone and asking for help is the first step in managing the stress you may encounter during this season. 
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