Holiday Blue

Holiday Blue

Overview

By Komekia Peterson

The holidays are a time of joy, family  gatherings, traditions, gift exchanges, hearty meals and more. Often times this can cause stress for many people.

There are various reasons people catch the holiday blues:

1. Overscheduling- There may be a desire to visit those we
haven’t seen during the year in a small period of time.
2. Time change and lack of sunlight- During the fall and
winter months, people often report a decrease in energy,
sleep disturbances, sadness and little pleasure in activities.
3. Overeating and the increase of alcohol use – There
is a tendency to eat and drink too much due to
the increase of festivities and holiday parties.
4. Lack of exercise- The hustle and bustle of the
holidays can throw off our exercise schedule.
5. Family conflicts and/or the reminder of familial
discord- The perfect family doesn’t exist; however,
we look to images that are portrayed in movies like
‘The Perfect Holiday’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

6. Unrealistic fantasies and expectations of our
families and friends- Expecting our families and
friends to meet high and unfamiliar standards.
7. High level of anxiety and stress- Some people experience
worry and pressure to make everything perfect.
8. Financial pressures- There may be a desire or pressure
to purchase expensive items for those we love.
9. Lack of strong social connections- Labeling the holidays as a
time to have the perfect life along with a perfect social life.
10. Reminders of the death of loved ones- The holidays
may remind us of those we have lost along the years.

These tips may help:

Take care of yourself

The holidays can throw off your normal routine with less sleep, more caloric intake and alcohol use. All of these things can trigger stress and sadness. Be sure to take time to enjoy simple things like an aromatherapy (with lavender oil and Epsom salt) bath and a cup of chamomile tea. This can assist with falling asleep after a stressful day. Enjoy your favorite dishes, but don’t overeat; you will feel sluggish and gain unwanted pounds if you eat in excess. Drinkalcohol in moderation and increase lemon water intake; remember alcohol is a depressant, so an increase of alcohol
often results in feeling down and sad. Alcohol can also rob your body of its natural electrolytes which will result in feeling physically ill “hung over.” Room temperature lemon water and probiotics can promote healthy digestion by loosening toxins in the digestive tract; it helps relieve symptoms of heartburn, bloating, and burping.

Spend time with those that love and support you.

Reach out to those friends and family members that allow us to be ourselves and love us when we are experiencing
our best and worst moods. Choose someone you know you can trust and confide in about how you’re feeling. You may consider planning a small gathering with these people. It may turn into a Laugh-Fest. Laughter is one of the best remedies for the holiday blues.

If you are alone, develop a support system

Think of others in your life that may be alone for the holidays and invite them out for dinner or coffee. Contributing to your community may be helpful too. During the holiday season, there are various ways you can volunteer in your local neighborhood—from food and toy drives to soup kitchens.

Simplify things

There is no need to attempt perfection by buying the perfect gift and creating the perfect meal. Do the best you can and ask for help if you need it! Celebrations are meant to be fun; provide an atmosphere of laughter and love. Those that care about you will have a great time even if you stick to your personal budget.

Get professional help if you need it
This stress can turn into mental disorders like depression
and anxiety as well as physical ailments such as
hypertension. If you are feeling a little down and sad during
the holidays, this is normal, however, depression is not.
Seek professional help if you are experiencing
some of the following symptoms:
Mood: anxiety, apathy, boredom, general discontent, guilt,
hopelessness, inability to feel pleasure, loneliness, loss of
interest, mood swings, sadness, or emotional distress
Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in
activity and thought, or thoughts of suicide
Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying,
irritability, self-harm, or social isolation
Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness,
insomnia, or restless sleep
Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue,
loss of appetite, or restlessness
Psychological: depression or repeatedly going over thoughts
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: poor appetite or substance abuse
Consult a doctor for medical advice.
Source: Mayo Clinic