The holiday season is usually the time of the year where spirits are high and most people are filled with joy and cheer. This is however not the case for everyone. For some, this time of the year causes stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
Holiday blues are more common than you think, and they occur for a variety of reasons. The holidays can be very lonely when you don’t have a significant other, if you don’t have family, or if you live far away from your family. As other people make fun plans, you are reminded of how alone you are. If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, this time can be especially difficult. You remember past holidays spent with them and the grief you feel can dampen the festivities.
Stress levels also increase due to the pressures of gift-giving and the commercialism that accompanies the season. You may feel guilty or even ashamed because of your financial difficulties. And finally, many people are also affected by the lack of sunshine during the winter months. The cold, dark weather can deplete your energy and make you depressed.
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Here are 5 Strategies to Beat the Holiday Blues:
1. Take Care of Your Health
Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks when you attend parties and avoid overeating as this can affect your mood and energy levels. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time can improve your body’s internal clock, which tends to get thrown off during the short, winter days. And finally, don’t skip the gym. Maintain your exercise routine as much as possible.
2. Stay Busy
Schedule events so that you are occupied and not alone for extended periods of time. Resist the temptation to isolate as this will only worsen your loneliness.
Go to a coffee shop or a bookstore so that you are around people or check out that new Meetup group you’ve been thinking about attending. If you know someone who is also spending the holidays alone, reach out and connect with them.
If you are feeling down, volunteering in your community is a sure way to lift your mood. You will feel better about yourself and you’ll get your mind off yourself and your problems as you focus on someone else.
Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and feel more connected. You can serve food at a shelter, stock shelves at a food bank or give your time at a clothing drive. There are a variety of volunteering opportunities around this time of the year.