what to do if you have the holidays blues

What to Do When the Holidays Leave You Blue

In Featured, Mental Health Resources, Seasonal Favorite by Helena Gerritsen

It’s the holiday season. Maybe you’re rushing to get things done, or maybe you’re a little lonely when you hear a song about family and togetherness. Maybe this time of year isn’t the cozy, picture-perfect time that you wanted.

Sometimes the holidays don’t live up to our expectations or all the hype. If you are feeling more blue than jolly, or more stressed than festive, that’s ok. Here are some things you can do to take care of yourself so you don’t feel like you’re stuck out in the cold.

Manage Your Feelings

Take one step at a time to help manage your feelings. Your emotions may feel like you are on a roller coaster. Try to stop, take stock of your feelings, and do something for yourself. You can:

  • Set boundaries with your loved ones. If you can’t afford a gift or need some space, tell them and stick to what is best for you.
  • Give yourself time to cry, even if only for a minute.
  • Allow yourself to rest. Whether it’s giving yourself more time to sleep or taking a short break during the day, rest helps you handle stress.
  • Don’t cling to perfectionism. Let yourself simply be in a moment and accept it for what it is. Breathing exercises can be a great way to reorient when you’re feeling stressed.

Reach Out to Others

If possible, reach out to your family or to the community. Social support is key during the holidays, especially if you are feeling lonely. If you don’t have traditional family and friendship support, you can:

  • Reach out to someone else who may be lonely. It could be someone you haven’t contacted in a long time. You never know if a call may make their day as much as yours.
  • Join a support group. Support groups are available in many communities and provide a great way to reach out. It can even be as simple as joining an online group through a phone app.
  • Volunteer. If possible, volunteer in a place where you can see people or animals. Helping those in need can be a great way to connect yourself with the community. Volunteer Match could be a good place to start learning about opportunities in your community.

Keep Expectations Realistic

Keep expectations realistic for yourself, no matter what steps you take. If you can do only one of these steps, start small and work your way up. If you’re feeling more ambitious, take on what you know you can handle, and keep things real. Try not to overcommit, and if you do, then don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn out perfect.

Taking little steps to take care of yourself can make a big difference. If this holiday season isn’t what you expected and you’re feeling blue, use these suggestions to take extra good care of yourself.

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