The holiday season is all about generosity and good cheer defined by family gatherings, glittering lights and joyous festivities. For many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for some it can be difficult and depressing. There are many reasons why the holidays may leave you feeling hollow. Perhaps you can’t spend it with your family. Maybe you’ve gone through a recent breakup. Or you might be in a rough place financially. If you’re feeling blue as the holiday season approaches, know you’re not alone. Seasonal depression is fairly common, affecting about 14 percent of the American populace. Fortunately, there are things you can do to combat holiday blues. Here are a few tips to help you manage during this time of year.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
It’s completely okay to not be okay. The first step in addressing an issue is acknowledging that it exists. Don’t bottle up your negative emotions. Dealing with them is the best way to avoid outbursts and becoming overwhelmed. If you need to take time to cry or sit with your feelings for a while, do so.
2. Seek support.
Oftentimes, feeling like you’re alone is just an illusion. Despite its drawbacks, the internet age means that we’re closer than ever before, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times. Reach out to people who care about you and talk through your feelings with them. If you’d rather talk to someone new, there are all kinds of support groups, specialists and communities available online. Don’t isolate completely. Seek support from someone you trust or a trained professional to help you navigate this season.
3. Learn to say no.
The holiday season tends to come with a lot of mounting obligations. It might not be conducive to your peace of mind to attend every event and participate in every activity that the holidays present. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Say no to some things to prevent yourself from being burnt out.
4. Limit alcohol.
Alcohol is a regular part of the holiday season for many, but if you’re vulnerable to depression and negative thought patterns, you may want to cut back on your drinking. One or two drinks here and there might not affect you much. But drinking to excess can alter your mood and may worsen any negative feelings you may have.
Exercising helps to combat depression and relieve stress by releasing endorphins that improve your mood. Even a light walk once a day can help get you out into the elements and out of a funk.