The Christmas season is a time of pleasure for many individuals, but it may also be a precursor to stress.
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5 Tips to Beat Holiday Blues
- The holiday season can be a difficult period for many dealing with loss, anxiety, or depression.
- Disruptions to your diet, exercise habits, and sleep schedule can also take a toll and lead to holiday blues.
- Experts say there are clear ways to cope, including connecting with others, managing expectations, and practising self-care.
The Christmas season is a pleasure for many individuals, but it may also be a precursor to stress.
For people experiencing loneliness or grief after the death of a loved one, Christmas traditions and activities may exacerbate feelings of isolation and melancholy.
Purchasing presents, preparing meals, travelling, and juggling other holiday duties may all put a strain on people’s emotional and financial resources.
Disruptions to your nutrition, exercise routine, and sleep pattern may also harm your physical and emotional health. Even seasonal reductions in the sunshine might have an effect.
You’re not alone if you’re experiencing stress, worry, or despair.
Here are five ways to help you beat the Christmas blues this year
Source - Stay Prepared
Keep In Touch With Others
If you’re experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression around the holidays, reaching out to family and friends may be comforting.
“For those persons who experience loneliness or depression during the holiday season, it’s essential to reach out to family and friends,” Mona Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN, a mental health specialist and professor of nursing at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, told Healthline.
“These individuals should strive to connect in real life with one person per day,” she continued. “Call a friend on the phone, make a plan to meet someone for a walk or coffee — anything that connects the person to another person.”
If you don’t have many contacts or places to visit, volunteering with a local organisation may provide an opportunity to meet new people and develop your ties to your community.
“Doing something meaningful for others can help mediate loneliness, depression, and stress during the holidays,” Shattell said.
“Taking part in a service project or volunteering for your favourite organisation can help one feel less alone, less stressed, and more alive,” she added.
Identify Feelings Of Loss
Certain holiday traditions or recollections may act as a reminder of a loved one’s absence for those mourning their loss.
The best thing you can do for yourself is recognise your grief and dedicate the time to remembering the person you’ve lost.
“For people who are experiencing grief over the death of loved ones, especially those who have died since the last holiday season, it is helpful to acknowledge the loss and celebrate the life as it was lived, the memories that remain," Shattell said.
Forming a new holiday practice in their honour may provide you with some solace. If you don’t want to participate in a tradition or activity that is too difficult for you. You may choose to forego it.
The Christmas season and the memory of a loved one may be celebrated in whatever way you want.
Setting relatively low expectations may help reduce stress and gradually works as one of the tips to beat holiday blues.
If you’re feeling overworked, it’s fair to dial down on your Christmas decorations, culinary hobbies or social schedule. The American Psychological Association (APA) advocates prioritising the tasks and activities most essential to you rather than attempting to do everything at once.
Sticking to a holiday budget may also help limit stress by reducing financial strain. Don’t spend more money on gifts or activities than you can afford.
“If you find yourself struggling to meet other people’s expectations, it’s important to recognise and communicate your needs and limits," Brett Marroquín, PhD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University, told Healthline.
“I tend to talk to patients about interpersonal effectiveness skills, ways to communicate with partners, with adult parents, and with families that have to do with clearly asserting your needs, being clear about what your needs and your emotions are, and having boundaries," Marroquín said.
“What can I fulfil? What do I need to do to take care of myself? Communicating all those things," he added.
It may not be your first concern over the holidays, but healthy habits are essential for a happy and healthy mind.
“Basic stuff like keeping a healthy diet, keeping up your exercise, keeping up the activities you typically do, including the positive activities that you just enjoy doing, and not letting the stressful stuff sort of overwhelm all that and supersede all of that — it creates the foundation for healthy coping,” Marroquín said.
Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid overindulgence over the holiday season.
Dr. Ken Duckworth, MD, the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s medical director also recommends against drinking when you’re feeling down or worried.
Plan In Advance
Planning might help you deal with the holiday pressures you’re expecting to face.
For others, this may include scheduling shopping trips for times when shops and malls are less crowded.
A special event or meeting with friends may be arranged for those likely to feel alone or depressed.
“If you know that Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve is a particularly stressful time for you, maybe because of a loss that happened around that period or because you’ve always spent time with your grandpa and he’s gone now," Marroquín said, “is there something you can do on that day, is there something you can plan with other family members for that day?"
“A lot of the research is really clear," he continued, “that when you’re active in planning to cope in advance for challenges you know are coming, the better off you’re going to be.“