The holidays are viewed in society as a time of joy, cheer, and happiness. There is a jovial buzz in the air, which might leave people feeling like they “should” be happy and excited about the season. The reality, and often times unspoken part, about the holidays is many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during this time. People who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their wellness during this time as the holidays may add an additional layer of strain. Feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season are often referred to as the “holiday blues” or holiday depression. Even people who are excited about and love the holiday season can experience the holiday blues. The holiday blues typically occur due to the fact that the holidays can be a time of high emotional, mental, and physical demands. Oftentimes, people are thrown off their normal and day-to-day routine, which can cause stress and anxiety. Typically, holidays entail tasks such as: cooking, baking, shopping, spending money, entertaining, and interacting with people. It is no wonder that some people feel drained during this time! During this holiday season, consider trying some of the tips below to help manage the (more common than not) holiday blues.
- Say “No!”: The holidays often mean that there are more people asking for help and making demands on your precious time and resources. From holiday obligations to social events, things can start to feel overwhelming. It is okay to say “no” to things that do not feel good to you. Check-in on your battery, and if it feels as though it is draining, say “no!”
- Take time for yourself: Even if you only have 15-30 minutes a day, it is very important to take time for yourself. Do something that fills your cup, such as meditate, read, listen to music, or enjoy a cup of tea.
- Reframe your expectations: The holidays can be a time of feeling a lot of pressure. The holidays won’t be “perfect” or “just like last year.” Things are supposed to change and evolve. Remind yourself of the meaning of the holidays and their importance in a way that resonates with you. Often times, people can get swept away with the materialism and trivial components of the season.
- Stick to a Budget: Finances can be a huge stressor for many people. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. There are a few phone applications that are helpful for sticking to a budget. Consider downloading EveryDollar or Mint on your cellphone or computer.
- Plan Ahead: Take a moment to plan ahead during this season. It might be helpful to set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends, and other activities. In addition, if you know you will encounter a triggering person or situation, it might be in your best interest to plan out how you will destress or a pinpoint person you can reach out to when you need a little extra support!
If you are struggling with the holiday blues, you are not alone! Take care of yourself this season.
As always, Mountain Vista Psychology is here to support you along the way.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!