10 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

If you’re struggling to find your holiday spirit, here are ten things you can do to beat those holiday blues.

For many of us, the holidays will look very different this year.  We may not be celebrating with family and friends.  Perhaps we have lost someone dear to us and are struggling with grief.  Maybe it’s just hard to feel joyous amidst so much turmoil. It is normal to experience feelings of sadness, stress and depression during this time of year.  But 2020 seems to have brought that to a whole new level.  If you’re struggling to find your holiday spirit, here are ten things you can do to beat those holiday blues.

  1. Plan Relaxation – Come up with restorative routines, such as reading a book or napping, and write them on a calendar. In between online shopping and baking, make sure these routines don’t fall by the wayside.
  2. Connect with Family and Friends – Even if you can’t be together in person this year, find a way to connect with your family and friends.  Schedule a time to Facetime or Zoom.  While you’re “together” you can bake a family favorite recipe, enjoy a cup of tea or even play an online game.
  3. Let Go of Perfection – Forget stressing over finding that perfect gift or making the perfect meal.  Focus on thethings that make you happy, and consider traditions to help those who are less fortunate.  It can make you realize how lucky you really are.
  4. Allow Yourself to Grieve Loss – if you’ve recently lost a loved one, the holidays can be particularly difficult.  It’s not uncommon to feel angry with the situation or even guilty if you enjoy yourself during the holidays.  Allow yourself those feelings – they are part of the process.
  5. Make Time for Sleep – Holiday activities can easily interfere with your sleep schedule. But studies have shown there is a link between sleep loss and depression, so be extra careful about cutting back on sleep just to get everything done.
  6. Take B Vitamins – The holidays are stressful.  Stress-related fatigue is often caused by a vitamin B deficiency.  To help protect yourself from the dangers of ongoing stress and the holiday blues, take a high-quality vitamin B supplement.
  7. Exercise – Exercise is often one of the first activities to get lost in the holiday shuffle – don’t let it.  The more stress we are under, the less time we feel like we have, and the more irritated our mood, the more we need to continue exercising.  Exercise has been shown to improve mood. Taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes five days per week is all you need.
  8. Consider Light – If you’re consistently tired, irritable, and down at this time of year, it may not be the holiday blues as much as the lack of exposure to the sun.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can be treated by spending some daylight time in the sun – try going for a walk or look into special sun simulating lamps.
  9. Rethink Gifts – if the financial stress of holiday shopping is causing you to lose sleep, rethink your gifting.  Homemade gifts are always appreciated and instead of buying for everyone in your family, you can suggest drawing names – which is often more fun and much more economical.
  10. Don’t Binge on Food and Alcohol – Overindulgence does not have to be a holiday tradition.  Have one piece of pie instead of three.  And don’t use alcohol as a means of dealing with depression – it can intensify your emotions and leaving you feeling even worse when the effects wear off.

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