Dealing with the Holiday Blues


You have a family reunion to plan, a seemingly endless shopping list, an unexpected house guest and several parties to attend. The holidays seem to be getting busier and busier each year. And you seem to be getting more and more frazzled as the days go by. Take a deep breath and relax. Now is the time to stop the frantic pace so you can enjoy yourself and not get the holiday blues.

Many things can cause stress and depression during the holidays, such as staying too busy, having unrealistic expectations about how the holidays should be, not exercising or sleeping on a regular schedule, drinking or eating more than usual and spending more than budgeted. As a result, you may begin to feel depressed, overwhelmed, irritable, tired, unable to sleep well at night, or anxious. Before your holiday turns into a bah-humbug time of year, here are a few tips that can help you enjoy the ho-ho-holidays:

  • Have realistic expectations about the holidays and don’t make comparisons to what you see on television or the way things were years ago. Live in the present so you can enjoy opening gifts and spending quality time with loved ones.
  • Don’t try to do everything yourself. Do the best you can and ask for help or delegate responsibilities to others.
  • Learn to say “no.” You don’t have to accept invitations to every party, event or family gathering.
  • Realize that it is okay to be sad during the holidays if a loved one has recently died or you cannot be together with family. Take some time for yourself so you can be refreshed and ready to tackle the next thing you need to do.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Make the holidays about spending time with loved ones, not buying lots of expensive gifts. Instead, make homemade gifts, start a family gift exchange or make a charitable donation.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule so you won’t get overtired or worn out.
  • Don’t overindulge in holiday goodies or alcohol. Extra sweets can add to your waistline and too many drinks may disrupt your sleep.
  • Don’t forget to keep exercising to help you relax.
  • Spend time doing things that you enjoy, like having lunch with a friend or listening to music, to help clear your mind and recharge your batteries.
  • Try something new this year. Consider volunteering to help others and give yourself a better perspective on life.
  • Remember to take medications as prescribed by your doctor.

It is important to remember that activities can be spread out to minimize stress and maximize enjoyment. The holidays are a season, not just one day. If you start to feel overwhelmed, step back and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. For more information about fighting the holiday blues, talk with your doctor or call (877) 909-4233 for a referral to a physician near you.

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