The Holiday Blues: What it is and how to prevent it

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The holiday season is here! But for some, visions of sugar plums, frosting yummy sugar cookies, and decorating a big balsam fir does not bring about feelings of excitement and joy. It’s called the holiday blues, and it can turn a Clark Griswold into an Ebenezer Scrooge quicker than you can say ho-ho-ho.

What are the Holiday Blues describes the holiday blues as feelings of sadness usually lasting between November-December (peak holiday season). It’s important to note that the holiday blues are less serious than clinical depression but can still have a major impact on a person’s overall mood and wellbeing.

Holiday Blues Symptoms and What Causes It

The holidays should be a time of happiness, right? Not so for those struggling with the holiday blues. When faced with these blues, people may experience an overwhelming feeling of sadness, followed by brief moments of happiness. Symptoms of the holiday blues may also include irritability, loneliness, exhaustion, and losing interest in things you once enjoyed. breaks down a whole list of holiday blues symptoms to note.

The stress of holiday shopping mixed with financial difficulties, baking and cooking for what seems like hundreds, and quarantining while wanting to see family and friends can trigger many, and even more, of these symptoms. Even longing for holidays past can cause a downward spiral in mood.

How to Treat the Holiday Blues

In most cases, your doctor will not need to prescribe any sort of medication for holiday blues. One silver lining is that this type of mood disorder is only temporary and seems to lessen and even disappear after the holiday season. In the meantime, be sure to find time to get outside. Seasonal affective disorder can also spring up during this time of year, which is shown to be caused by the shorter days and lack of sunlight.

Bundle up and head outside for a daily half-hour walk. The fresh air and exercise can do wonders for a sour mood and the bit of sunlight coming through on those cloudy winter days can help you take in vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. The lack of sunlight is forcing us to stay indoors more, missing out on this essential vitamin, which has been shown to have a bunch of positive effects on our bodies. Learn more about the positive effects of vitamin D here.

It may be difficult to avoid isolating yourself during a pandemic but there are ways to interact with friends and family even if the holiday get-togethers are canceled. Video chat is a great way to still see your friends and family and make the season fun. We’ve put together a list of 5 free and easy video chat apps that you can utilize this holiday season. Make a point to call one family member or friend a day to break up the monotony of your own thoughts.

One of the best ways to combat the holiday blues is making time for self-care. Between the cooking and the cleaning, wrapping gifts, buying more gifts, creating holiday cards, and checking in on family, it is easy to forget about yourself and what you need. Take time for YOU and be sure to get some self-care in throughout your day. Maybe that’s putting up your feet and reading a few chapters in your book. Maybe it’s taking the dog for a walk or getting a nap in. For some, it’s painting their nails or taking a bath. Whatever self-care is it you, make it a priority!

The holiday blues can ruin a season that’s supposed to be filled with happiness and joy. Combat the holiday blues with self-care, a little exercise, and time with people who care about you. Talk to your doctor if your mood does not improve once the holidays have ended. This could be a sign of a significant mood disorder.

*If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger call 911.

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