Mental Health: Ways To Beat The Holiday Blues

The winter blues are more common than you may think

The holidays are seen as a time of love and joy. But for many, the holiday season can trigger depression. In fact, approximately 14% of Americans experience seasonal depression or winter blues

These blues can feel overwhelming, especially during Christmas or New Year. Many gravitate towards adding meaning to the holidays, which doubles the pressure on experiences and can lead to anxiety, disappointment, or sadness. If you think you might be suffering from holiday blues, you’re not alone. 

What are the symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms of the holiday blues is depression. You may feel yourself losing interest in things you used to enjoy, or simple activities become harder than usual—whether they’re daily chores or just getting out of bed. Other symptoms include having trouble concentrating, and feeling more tired than usual.

Ways to beat the holiday blues

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep has a huge impact on your mood. Try keeping to a regular bedtime every night. When your body gets enough sleep, you’ll feel ready to take on the day.

2. Exercise regularly

A lack of energy can influence your mood, so to combat this feeling, regular exercise can help. Exercising is known to release endorphins that boost your energy levels, and studies have proven that aerobic exercise can fight depression.

3. Get support when you’re still grieving a loved one

If you have lost a loved one close to the holidays, or during the holidays, it can be an extra tough time of year. It might be tempting to cut off from friends and family to grieve, but a better idea might be to spend time with them instead, to benefit from their love and support.

4. Limit alcohol

We’ve all been there. Liquid courage can enhance moods—or amplify negative feelings. It’s perfectly fine to drink a glass or two, but it’s best to limit your alcohol intake to avoid additional feelings of holiday blues.

5. Be open to new experiences

Society is great at telling us what the holidays should be like. Why not allow new experiences, instead of holding on to what the holidays should have been?

6. Keep a balance

Towards the end of each year, many of us have obligations. While it won’t hurt to go through with some of them, it’s important to learn to say no and to be considerate to yourself. Design a holiday of your own choosing, where you are the one who decides where to go and who to spend time with.

It’s important to remember that these moods pass, and almost all cases of depression are treatable. However, if you need help, be sure to reach out to friends, relatives, counselors, or someone you trust to talk about your emotions. No matter what’s causing your winter blues, keep in mind that we all experience dark times, and you’re never alone.