Many people experience the holiday blues. It’s actually ironic: while the atmosphere may seem festive, with the lights and upbeat songs, the building anticipation and excitement can actually heighten depression or anxiety. Do you have the holiday blues? Here’s a way of understanding—and coping with—your emotions.
Symptoms of holiday blues
The symptoms of holiday blues can be subtle—uneasiness, stomach upsets, or headaches—or escalate into insomnia, panic attacks, and a deep sense of isolation and unhappiness. You may also be more sensitive and irritable, which can lead to conflicts with friends and relatives, or make you more prone to reacting to a random comment at the next holiday gathering.
Causes of holiday blues
The holiday season itself can worsen any emotions. The preparations can be stressful, and the overeating, overeating, and fatigue can push your body to the brink—making it difficult to cope with feelings. The recession may also heighten feelings of frustration and anger, especially when faced with holiday debt.
Coping with the holiday blues
The first step is to have a reasonable schedule. Give yourself time to rest, or you will become cranky, irritable, and depressed. Setting priorities and organizing your time will help keep your schedule reasonable.
Set reasonable expectations too. Holidays won’t magically make you feel less alone, sad, angry or afraid—no matter what the Christmas carols say.
It also helps to set emotional barriers and filters. Don’t let relatives or friends upset you, and resist the urge to tell every relative how angry you are about your past. And forget the nostalgia that your holidays will be just as they were when you were a child. You are not the same as when you were a child, and no one will be either.
Photo from steadyhealth.com