Holiday Blues?

We’re coming up on a time of year that for many (maybe even most) people offers significant challenges.  Now is the time to plan ahead for the difficulties you typically face during the holiday season, and call to mind coping strategies that have worked for you in the past, or new ones that you want to try.

Depression is a major villain in disrupting holidays.  A lot of the time, it just seems like the forced cheerfulness is too much to handle.  Recognizing that nostalgia, remembering absent family members, and wishing for what will make life better are all intrinsic parts of the year-end holidays may help us accept and acknowledge depression or the “blues” when they do hit, and put them in their place without being overwhelmed.

For those who struggle with mania at this time of year, remember you are not alone!  Asking family members, or a trusted friend, to help with mood charting and watching for early warning signs can provide needed reminders to take time out for breathing, keeping in balance, and foregoing overspending and overeating behaviors that may worsen during busy holidays, parties, shopping and other pressures of the season.

Family, family, family: those who are present and those who are absent.  Family pressures can build up at this time of year, and without thoughtful engagement, they probably won’t be resolved.  Set your boundaries, and resolve to keep them.  When you need space, take it – take a walk, go to the library, get a nap, whatever works to enable you to have the energy to re-engage later.

And, as I always try to remind people: it’s a holiday, celebrate it!  Holidays are supposed to be a little bit chaotic, a break from the usual routine.  A little healthy nostalgia, a little unhealthy food, some silly old songs, and a few moments of relaxation.  Whatever the holiday season does or doesn’t mean to you, look for the fun times and give yourself a break.


For more tips on holiday survival see:

How to survive the holidays

Holidays and Mood

Mood Swings and the holidays