Coping with the Holidays

Despite the people in party dresses drinking champagne by the fireplace that we see in commercials, it is not unusual for many people to feel stressed, sad, or lonely during the holiday period.There are several factors that contribute to these “holiday blues”:

  • Increased stress
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Family issues
  • Over-commercialization
  • Memories
  • Changes in daily routines
  • Not having enough money
  • Spending more than you can afford
  • Fatigue
  • Shopping, cooking, parties
  • Too much food and alcohol
  • Weight gain
  • House guests

Symptoms of “holiday blues” may mimic depression and/or anxiety. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite change/weight loss or gain
  • Agitation
  • Excessive feelings of guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased interest in usually pleasurable activities

There are some basic strategies you can try on your own to address the “holiday blues”. These include:

  • Live the basics of good health–eat right, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly
  • Set realistic goals and expectations
  • Let go of the past
  • Try something new
  • Set aside differences
  • Enjoy free holiday activities do something for someone else
  • Spend time with supportive people
  • Find time for yourself
  • Do not overindulge in alcohol
  • Focus on what you do have instead of what you do not have

Remember, the “holiday blues” are usually a normal response to a stress filled time of year and are usually short lived, subsiding after the holiday season is over and daily routines are resumed. If you experience a significant amount of distress or the “holiday blues” do not subside, seek professional counseling.