How To Beat The Blues This Holiday Season

It's the time of year for gift giving, meals with friends and family, and weekend social gatherings. The lights are beautiful, the decorations are many, and it seems there's an event around every corner. All of these things combine to make this a fun time of year, but many people feel overwhelmed and down during what is supposed to be a fun time.

Holiday blues are a real thing that affect millions of people each year. Although many people do look forward to the holidays, Psychology Today found that 38% of people mention that their stress level amplifies when the holidays come around. The test participants said "lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings" all play a part in the decrease in mental health.

Because the holidays come around every year, much work has been done in researching just how to approach them in a healthy way. If you experience the holiday blues and feel the tension already starting to enter, there are many ways to ease the pressures of this time of year and enjoy life in the moment.

What are the symptoms?

You may feel stress around the holidays, but how do you know if you have the holiday blues? According to Healthline, if your feelings of depression and anxiety get in the way of your normal activities, you may be suffering from holiday-related stress or depression. Feeling worn down, being unable to focus on what you're doing, or simply not finding happiness in things you used to are all symptoms to watch out for.

In addition, this is a time where many get together with their loved ones, but some people feel an extra layer of loneliness amid the celebrations. Whether you are getting together with others or not, loneliness can come in the form of comparison, high expectations, or social events that don't feel authentic (via University of Connecticut). If you feel like you're going through the motions without enjoyment, you may be experiencing the holiday blues.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

How to combat the holiday blues

The first step in combatting these emerging depressive feelings is to know that you are not alone. The holiday season brings with it pressures, time demands, and financial strains. If loneliness is a culprit, attend the events you are invited to knowing that you can leave when you want to. Try to limit alcohol, keep your workout routine, and get plenty of sleep. If you're already overscheduled, it's okay to decline to take care of yourself. In addition, seek out a friend or family member to be your confidante and make things less lonely. Also consider seeking a therapist who can help you navigate these feelings, advisesĀ Psycom.

Finally, although the weather isn't always kind during this time of year, try to get outside for a hike, a walk, or a run and soak up as much Vitamin D as the temperatures will allow (via Harley Therapy). If the blues are something that you cannot shake, and you feel like they are stronger than you can handle, always reach out for help.

Whether you love the holidays or dread their onset each year, it's important to acknowledge your feelings and honor what your body is telling you this season. Holiday blues are something many people suffer through, and knowing how to manage these feelings can help you have a beautiful entry into the new year. Above all, give yourself permission to take care of yourself this holiday season.