Are you someone who has a challenging time during the holidays? Does someone you love or care about have a hard time at this time of year? If so, then be sure to read on and know that even though it can be a challenge, the holiday blues are nothing that needs to rule this otherwise festive season.
Getting Around the Holiday Blues
You don’t have to go around acting like you’re feeling great despite how unhappy or depressed you actually feel inside. There are some tried and true coping techniques that can help you navigate the otherwise treacherous time of the holidays. One of the best ways to cope is to make plans to be around other people at this time of year, if at all possible. You don’t have to find some special person who you think is going to cheer you up; you mainly have to make plans to go out and be with others who care about you and you care about for the main holidays of Christmas and New Years (these may vary depending on your particular culture and faith tradition). They don’t have to be people you know well, and can include service and volunteer opportunities. The main thing is to avoid isolating during the holidays. Make plans to be with others and follow through on your plans, even if you have to force yourself to do it!
The Holiday Blues Are All Too Common
A survey of individuals with some type of mental illness by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) back in 2014 found that 64% of those individuals illnesses were made worse by the holiday season. So even though others can be happy and jovial at this time of year, that can be vastly different for a lot of people. You have plenty of company if this is the case, as there are alot of people with some type of mental illness (either diagnosed or undiagnosed).
More Ways to Reverse the Holiday Blues
As I mentioned above, being around others at this time of year is one of the best ways to positively cope with the holiday blues. Others include making sure you get the right amount of physical exercise, as well as maintaining regular sleeping and waking schedules. Physical exercise is one of the very best ways to help treat mild to moderate depression, and anything up to 30 minutes each day is beneficial for your mood. You can also try journaling to help alleviate difficult feelings and emotions by just sitting down and writing and writing and writing until what you write has a neutral or positive tone to it. Avoiding excessive alcohol or other mood altering substances is important as well, along with not binging on sugar or other foods so much in abundance at this time of year.
How I Can Help You Stop Signing the Holiday Blues
Although I don’t see people solely for the holiday blues, I have worked with many folks who complain that there illness(es) get worse during the holidays. I specifically help them identify ways to cope with and avert holiday blues so that this doesn't negatively affect them getting to the end of the year and over the hump into a new year. I can help you as well in working to make the holidays something you can look back on with satisfaction in the new year. I would be happy to have a free 15-minute phone consult to help you decide if the holiday blues is part of a larger problem for you, and if I can help you in dealing with one or both of them. You can reach me at 512-374-0100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if I can be part of the solution to your mood and/or life dilemmas. You can also subscribe to my mailing list by filling out the form below.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults of all ages in private practice.
Click here to learn more about how Scott can help you with depression.