By: Justin Hill
It’s that time of year again. Time to enjoy overloading on lots of food for Thanksgiving. Time to purchase presents for loved ones for Christmas. But also a time for holiday blues in the form of stress, anxiety, and depression.
The holidays are meant to be a time of sharing, caring, and spending leisure time with loved ones. It often becomes a time of high stress, anxiety, and eventually feeling down. No one wants to be depressed during the holidays.
Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. All the planning, all the presents, all the family members and potential unwanted conversations and situations… It can all become kind of a drag and turn positive, feel-good moments into potential for stress, anxiety, and depression. And there's a lot of reasons to feel down and out during the holidays...
Perhaps it’s the planning and organizing of hosted events. Perhaps it's all the cooking and prep that comes with the territory. Or maybe it’s just the shopping for presents – getting the "right" gifts to fit each special person. Maybe you feel lonely and are single or presently dealing with relationship strife that has you down.
And while an increase in stress and anxiety happens during the holidays, the following five tips may prove helpful to managing those pesky holiday blues.
Keep the Finances in Check
Everyone wants to make sure they get the right gift to show they care for that special someone. But sometimes money can be tight. And along with the increase in spending comes a potential increase in low mood.
One way to deal with those financial woes of not having enough money for the holiday season is to set up a budget. Do one of the following: figure out how much you can comfortably spend and stick to that or put a little aside each month so you have a budget to spend specifically for presents. Having a plan (not just a financial plan) is never a bad thing. In fact, it is a great way to preemptively strike against those pesky holiday blues.
Shop Ahead of Time and Avoid the Mobs
Setting up a budget isn't the only way to counteract the holiday blues. Shopping ahead of the holidays is another great technique to add to your arsenal during the crazy holiday rush.
This is important where you plan to shop at physical stores or online. For physical stores, you will avoid the crazy mobs that come along with the holiday rush. If you shop online, you can deal with any problems, like not receiving a package on time (or never receiving it at all).
If you budget your finances and shop ahead of time, you can have more time to spend on what matters: socializing and relaxing with loves ones. Speaking of spending time with loved ones...
The More the Merrier
When you’re feeling down, the obvious solution is to isolate yourself and push everyone away while downing your favorite flavor of ice cream in conjunction with watching your favorite show on Netflix like a lone wolf that doesn’t need anyone else to help out.
That solution is most likely not going to help, and more likely lead you down a path of blues (and I'm not talking about jazz here). You don’t have to socialize if you go out. But it’s a good idea to get outside of your usual environment. Go check out the city at night (there’s usually events like holiday light shows that you can stroll through).
Try attending a family or friend party you've been invited to, of course. Bottom line: getting out and being around people or socializing with others, even if you don't feel like it, can help you fight your low mood.
Get Out and Get Moving
Exercise, even if it’s just getting out and walking around, has numerous psychologically and physical benefits anytime during the year. But It’s especially beneficial to get out and exercise during during the holidays. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy or nutty – it can be something as simple as a short walk.
So, check your city out. Attend an event. Talk to some people - or don't. It doesn't matter if you go alone or go with friend or family, the point here is to get out and walk it out.
Keep Expectations to a Minimum
You’re one person, remember that. Realize that trying to take a monumental task that involves many people thinking that you can handle it all is the first step to a recipe for disaster, especially during the holidays.
But it happens anyway. The holidays loom over you and lead you to get overly excited about many things. Planning the perfect party. Getting ALL the family members together and having it run smoothly. Spending more money than you have to to get special gifts for EVERYONE. On top of that all: This year will be the one where you will make the perfect recipes and food that ALL will enjoy.
Let's take a couple steps back before this turns into a Nightmare Before Christmas, shall we?
Realize that high expectations can lead to potential hard downfalls. The solution is actually quite simple. Don’t expect too much. The holidays are a time to reflect and spend with loved ones while you relax and enjoy your downtime. It's not a time to freak out and make sure everyone is pleased and everything is picture perfect. That’s a large weight to hold onto, and it is much too heavy of a burden to take on, especially if you want to avoid those pesky holiday blues. So please, as a gift for yourself, keep your expectations to a minimum and not to the level of the unachievable perfection that we all strive for but none achieve.
Remember to Enjoy Yourself
Now that you’ve been equipped with some tips to deal with those holiday blues, you should be able to manage the heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression that comes with the holiday season.
And remember what the holidays are really about: They're meant to be enjoyed. It's meant to be a time of relaxation, fun, conversation, and seeing those closest and most special to you. So, no matter what happens, take some time to enjoy this holiday season, instead of taking on the burden that comes too often with holiday blues.
Happy Holidays All!
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