Beat the holiday blues and enjoy this holiday season!
It is holiday time here at Internal Wisdom. This time can be filled with spending time with family and making holiday memories. We also know that the holidays can be painful for some people. As the holiday season gets into full swing, we wanted to take a moment to talk about how to how beat the holiday blues and enjoy this holiday season!
First, feeling the holiday blues is not uncommon. UC Davis Behavioral Sciences chair Robert Hales reports that many people experience “symptoms of anxiety or depression over the holidays” (ucdmc.ucdavis.edu, 2017). There are several reasons for the “holiday blues” and with so much emphasis on family and celebration, it can be very hard if you aren’t close to or near friends and family.
So, how does one handle the holiday blues? First, know that you are not alone. Some of us here at Internal Wisdom have struggled with the holiday blues in the past. Sometimes the holiday celebrations reminds people of what they don’t have or what they have lost. We know that for many, they trigger deep feelings of sadness and anxiety.
“There’s so much emphasis on family and celebration, but it’s hard if you’re dealing with difficult memories or reminders that you’re not close to your family,” says Sharon Melnick author of “Success under stress: powerful tools for staying calm, confident and productive when the pressure’s on.”
Some of the common causes (and recommendations) include:
- Time change: With the change in time, there are less daylight hours available. Less sunlight can lead to feelings of sadness at times. Spending time in nature during the day and getting out in the morning light can be quite helpful. Take a hike, eat your lunch outside and even sit outside for 15-30 minutes when the sun is out.
- Alcohol use: During the holidays there are so many different reasons to celebrate and these occasions often include alcohol. Alcohol is a natural depressant and it can worsen any symptoms of depression already present. Decreasing the amount of alcohol you consume will help level out your mood and if you do decide to enjoy that holiday cocktail, moderation is always encouraged.
- Overeating: Welcome to the annual parade of cookies, treats and snacks! Food is a big part of celebrating and overeating is easy to do. We recommend eating in moderation and the holidays are no exception. Enjoy the sweets, but do so in limited doses. Some action based strategies include limiting yourself to one treat a day (or every other day), eating a healthy breakfast and lunch to curb hunger and staying active throughout the day.
- Lack of sleep: You were busy before the holidays. Now there is shopping, work parties, family gatherings and work mixers too. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and you’re not getting enough sleep. Sound familiar? Decreased sleep is a major contributor to feeling tired during the day. It may also increase depressive symptoms. It is important during the holiday period to try and keep healthy sleep habits.
- Over-scheduling: We all want to see our friends and family over the holidays; especially those that we have not seen all year. Sometimes there simply is not enough time. Frequently, we will feel rushed by the need to see so many over such a short period. Don’t overbook yourself. Try to limit the number of activities and think carefully about who you wish to meet.
- Poor planning: Pull out your calendar for the next few weeks and fill it out! Planning will make you life easier. Pen in your holiday events; including any shopping trips. Waiting until the last minute contributes to stress and anxiety which can lead to depression over the holiday season.
- Unrealistic Expectations: During the holiday season we are bombarded with images. Movies like It’s a Wonderful Life” play on the daily. Though often uplifting, these types of images can also lead to unrealistic expectations of us and others. Be gentle with yourself and your others. Don’t expect perfect. Be realistic in what you hope to achieve, both personally and professionally.
We hope these tips helped tell you howto beat the holiday blues and enjoy this holiday season! beat the holThe holidays can be a wonderful and fulfilling time of the year. As this year comes to a close, think about the blessing you have in your life. Write them down often and reach out to those close to you often. Taking stock of all of the positives in your life can go a long way to preventing a “bah humbug” mood.
FINALLY! Please also join us for: Tap Away Holiday Blues Workshop
Date: Monday, December 4th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Join Jennifer Jackson, EFT Practitioner for a fun and helpful evening! In this class, she will utilize Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as Tapping, to transform holiday tension into feelings of love and comfort. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at: https://www.discoverthemissingpeace.com/
Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Life by DailyBurn. (2015, December 22). Four simple steps to beating the holiday blues – CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/19/health/surviving-holiday-blues/index.html