Tips to Stave Off Holiday Blues

by Erin Reed, BSN, RN, WHNP-S, Prescott Women’s Clinic

The holidays often bring with it feelings of hope, laughter and joy. They give us time to celebrate the memories and successes of 2021. With tasty food, great gifts and even better company why would anyone feel anything but happy?

Women tend to take on the role of “holiday heroes,” and we do a very good job! However, the holidays can be a lot of work — mentally, physically and emotionally. Becoming overwhelmed or stressed by the demands of the holidays comes with a huge risk of developing holiday blues.

Holidays may also bring forth feelings of loneliness if the family is far away or stress from unrealistic financial expectations. As the weather becomes colder and the days become shorter, it is not uncommon to feel holiday blues. We are all still living the effects of the pandemic, and the holidays just may not feel the same.

Not everyone feels overly joyous during the holidays, and that is OK.

Common symptoms of holiday blues include fatigue, tension or feelings of sadness and anxiety. The difference between the holiday blues and clinical anxiety/depression is that these feelings are temporary and tend to resolve shortly after New Year’s.

However, it is important to remember that short-term problems can sometimes lead to long-term mental health conditions. A conversation with your trusted health care provider can help you work through any feelings you may be struggling with.

Try these tips for a healthy holiday:

  • Learn when to say no — whether it’s hosting too many people, spending money outside your means, or just needing some time to yourself.
  • Delegate where you can and avoid taking on all the tasks yourself.
  • Feel the healing abilities of gratitude, and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.
  • Avoid alcohol if you are feeling sad or overwhelmed.
  • Keep your immune system strong by getting your flu shot, finding sunlight where you can, and choosing healthy foods for your holiday celebrations.
  • Remember to get enough sleep!
  • Splurge on yourself every now and again.
  • Find your own holiday traditions or hobbies that make you happy — try something new!

Most importantly, remember to reach out when you need help.

Whatever you choose to celebrate, cheers to a happy, healthy holiday season!