How to Avoid the Holiday Blues And Stress
The holidays can be a wonderful time, full of joy, happy memories and quality time spent with your loved ones. For a lot of people however, this time of year can trigger depression. Mental health professionals experience an increase in reports of depression centered around holiday celebrations every year.
This happens for a number of reasons.
Some see the world celebrating, happy and joyful, and wish their lives were as enjoyable. This can lead to thoughts of self-doubt and depression. Others see the end of the year arriving. It seems like it was only this time last year they were making so many plans and setting so many goals. A year has passed, and they are right where they were this time last year.
This type of thinking can quickly lead to “the holiday blues”.
Avoiding a poor emotional state during any holiday celebration is possible however. Overly high expectations, financial issues, seasonal weight gain and other holiday-based stressors can be encountered and handled without triggering depression and anxiety.
The health-centric website Health.com points out that simply planning ahead can reduce most of your seasonal worries. Add stress-relieving activities when you are planning for shopping, decorating and other traditional holiday tasks. You can also limit the impact of stressful family conflicts by avoiding them, or simply saying, “Let’s talk about this at another time.”
You should also try to avoid perfection during the holidays. Plan for success and “good enough” when decorating, baking, planning vacations and buying gifts. Perfection is seldom achieved, and almost never realized.
The Mayo Clinic, a revered global health conglomerate, advises you to be realistic in your expectations during the holidays. This closely dovetails with the above recommendation to avoid seeking perfection. People and families change over time. This means what was once an annual holiday tradition may not be feasible anymore.
Developing a budget and sticking to it is a huge part of avoiding the blues during the holidays, and afterward. Well in advance of the holidays you should write out a realistic budget, and judiciously follow it. Sometimes the holiday blues can be delivered because you refuse to bury the hatchet. You may seriously object to the actions or lifestyle of someone you encounter during the holidays, and perhaps rightfully so.
However, why not set aside your differences during this time of year which should be centered around emotionally positive ideas like sharing, loving and forgiving?
Finally, make time for yourself. Make sure you enjoy some alone time during this traditionally hectic season. That doesn’t mean alone time with your kids, your significant other, or your friends. It means carving out a segment during the busy holiday season where you take care of your special needs, and no one else’s.
5 Tips for Beating Holiday Stress
While the holidays “Tis the season to be jolly”, it can be far from that for many people. It can be a season filled with additional stress. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. There are things you can do to prevent excess stress and enjoy the season.
Here are 5 ways to keep the “jolly” in your festive holidays:
Control your eating instead of letting it control you. With office parties, holiday meals and various festive gatherings, it is easy to overeat … only just to feel guilty later. Curb your appetite by eating a light snack before going to a party. Another tactic is to bring a healthful dish for everyone to enjoy. At least you’ll have one thing there that you can eat without guilt.
Get adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep can put any of us in a foul mood. With all of the holiday activities and late-night parties, it is easy to get sleep deprived during this time of the year. Besides not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain, something most of us are trying to avoid this time of year.
Exercise. By exercising at least three times per week for at least a half-hour at a time, you’ll be able to burn off some of the extra calories you are consuming. It is a simple process of burning off the same number of calories that you are taking in to maintain your current weight. This time of year you may have to exercise more times and for longer periods. Plus exercising releases the hormone endorphin which will improve your mood.
Avoid typical holiday stress triggers. We all have them. Things that when happen induce that “fight or flight” response, thereby increasing our stress level. If things typically in the past around this time of year send you into a downward spiral, vow to avoid these triggers this year if you can. Some things are outside of your control, but many aren’t. Don’t let those things control you – you control them by not putting yourself in those situations in the first place.
Plan ahead. Holiday shopping, going to parties, rushing here and there only adds stress to what can be a stressful time of year anyway. Plan out this time of year the best you can, so you have time to do what you have to do. Getting behind and feeling rushed can be one stress trigger you can avoid this year.
The festive holiday season is a great time of year. This year make the most of it by using these 5 tips to make it as enjoyable and “jolly” as you can.