The holidays aren’t a time of joy and excitement for everyone. High expectations, packed schedules, financial strain, and being away from family or friends can all contribute to holiday blues. Most of the time this gloomy mood passes once the whirl of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year is over. But there are things you can do to avoid or lessen the holiday blues.
Time and money are both in high demand around the holidays. Remember that both are precious commodities and you have a choice how you spend them. Set a budget for gifts, food, parties, etc. so you can avoid overspending. The same goes for time. There’s no need to attend every party or visit every friend and relation. It’s okay to decline an invitation, or to decide in advance what time you’ll leave the gathering.
Cultural messages of universal peace and unity can be hard to swallow if your own family dynamics are less than ideal. The reality is that relationships are complicated, and that doesn’t change with the holidays. Recognize that a family gathering or holiday dinner can be accompanied by arguments, tension, or burnt food—and that’s perfectly normal and okay.
Chances are, your holiday season comes prepackaged with a massive to-do list. Rather than try to accomplish everything, make another list: reasons for your to-do items. Doing this can help you prioritize and simplify. For example, if your reason for hosting an elaborate party is to reconnect with friends, you could plan a more casual get-together…or just go to a party someone else has planned if most of your friends will be there! And if there isn’t a good reason for something on your to-do list, cross it off.
Holiday blues are a common phenomenon, but doing a few simple things to ease your stress can help you get through the season more easily. If your holiday blues persist, or if you just feel like you could get some extra help to deal with them, contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our therapists or counselors. We’re here to support you at any time of year.