We generally think of the holidays as a time of joy, good cheer, family gatherings, and optimistic hopes. People share gifts, food, song and each other’s company. It is not unusual however, for many individuals to experience the holidays as a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures, anxiety about the future, or overwhelmed by holiday expectations. Factors contributing to holiday blues include increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, too much commercialization, or the inability to be with one’s family. Increased demands of shopping, parties, family gatherings and guests may contribute to increased tension and sadness. Symptoms of holiday blues may mimic clinical depression. While these feelings may be intense and overwhelming, holiday blues are usually short lived and subside after the holiday season is over and daily routines are resumed.
Please remember these important things:
- It’s a normal response to a stressful time of the year
- You do not have to suffer unnecessarily
- Find someone to talk with who can help you through this difficult time – a family member, a friend, a member of the clergy or a physician or professional counselor.
Here are some suggestions to help make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful:
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: 10 Ways to Cope with Holiday Blues
- Form Realistic Expectations: Plan holiday activities you most enjoy. Eliminate activities you least enjoy. Don’t try to make this the perfect holiday for yourself or for your family. There’s no such thing.
- Prioritize: Make a list of what must be done and what would be a nice addition. There is a big difference between “I do it” and “it gets done.” Ask for help. Share shopping, cooking and cleaning responsibilities with others. Remember exhaustion and bankruptcy are not holiday options.
- Practice Moderation: You can’t do everything, but you can do and enjoy the most important things. Don’t try to do it all. Save something for next year. The holidays are a time when it is easy to overindulge in what we eat, drink, and spend. More is not necessarily better. Keep your holiday simple.
- Preserve Meaningful Traditions: Remember what this holiday season represents. Preserve and start new holiday traditions that build connections among your family and friends. Traditions are an important way to reinforce values and spiritual experiences. Take time to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
- Take Care of Yourself: Get enough sleep and exercise, eat and drink sensibly, make connections with friends and family and gather support. Take time to rest and recuperate. Your body will truly appreciate these gifts to yourself. Do not compare yourself to others. Do what is in your heart and within your budget and timeline to do. No one can make any real conclusions about a gift-giver’s character or level of caring based on how big a gift is or how much it cost.
- Finally, make some fun plans for January when the post-holiday blues may set in.
SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP
For emergency psychiatric or chemical dependency services please call 911 or go to any one of the nine Methodist Healthcare EMERGENCY ROOMS. For non-emergency psychiatric or chemical dependency assessments please call 210-575-0500.
An extensive scope of behavioral medicine is just one more reason Methodist Healthcare is the most trusted health care leader in San Antonio and South Texas.
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