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When the Holidays Get Your Down: Managing the Holiday Blues

The holidays are traditionally a time for gathering with friends and family and enjoying the festivities of the season, however, those who are suffering from depression or who are prone to it may find themselves dealing with a case of the holiday blues this year.

Seasonal depression affects millions of American every year.  The stress that comes with buying gifts, decorating and socializing can cause a severe case of the holiday blues that can go on even after the holidays are over.  According to the Mayo Clinic, stress and depression during the holidays can lead to unhealthy responses, including overeating, overindulging in alcohol, headache and fatigue.  However, by combining awareness with the development of healthy coping responses, those who suffer from the holiday blues can learn to enjoy the season again.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that those who are prone to holiday depression take some steps to help prevent the holiday blues, including learning how to manage expectations and goals.  As reported by the clinic, it’s best to set goals that are realistic and that keep you organized.  If you are prone to overeating and overdrinking in times of stress, try to develop a strategy for managing stress in a healthier way.  Many find that volunteering to help others during the season and spending time with people who are caring and understanding is a great way to reduce stress and increase positive feelings during this busy time of year.

Remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun and enjoyment, so don’t take things too seriously.  Take time to enjoy the season by looking at neighborhood decorations, doing some window shopping and taking part in community activities, but don’t forget to take time out for yourself.  If you start to feel overwhelmed or sad, talk to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings.  You may be surprised to find that they are also feeling the stress and pressure of trying to create the “perfect” holiday.  By talking through your concerns and learning to manage your expectations of the season in a healthy way, you can work through the holiday blues and change your outlook during this busy time of year.