It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Unless It Isn’t
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. While the holidays should be a happy time, for many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. Typical reasons for the holiday blues include stress, fatigue, financial concerns, and separation from family and friends.
Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression. If you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, or anxious during the holidays, consider these strategies for coping with the holidays.
Set realistic expectations for the holiday season. All the pressure to spend and social obligations can make you feel overwhelmed. Feel free to say no to events or activities that increase your sense of overwhelm. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Remember, it is okay to say no to avoid feelings of resentment and overwhelm.
Look to the future with optimism. Don’t set yourself up for sadness by comparing today with the past. Consider celebrating the holidays with a new tradition.
Limit your drinking. Excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
Set a budget and keep track of your holiday spending. Overspending can lead to depression. Consider donating to a charity, giving homemade gifts, or starting a family gift exchange to capture the meaning of the season without breaking the bank.
Seek professional help if you need it. No matter what you do, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to manage your daily routine. If these feelings last, talk to your doctor or a behavioral health professional. Your employer may provide services through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
If you know someone who is alone this holiday season or who may be experiencing emotional, financial or physical stress, make time to connect with them. We all need human connection to be healthy and what better time to extend a hand to your neighbor than the season of giving?