The official start of the holiday season is fast approaching as people start to count down the days to Thanksgiving. Many have already mapped out their shopping plans for Black Friday and you can’t walk into a store without being bombarded with Christmas decorations and sales. While the Christmas season may evoke feelings on joy in many there is another group of people who dread this time of year.
While for many the holiday season is a happy, fun-filled time of year complete with family, gifts, food and social gatherings for others it is the complete opposite. Many people suffer from severe stress, anxiety, and depression during the 5 week period from Thanksgiving to New Years, known at the holiday season. The symptoms are so common and widespread they’ve been dubbed the holiday blues. Dr. Adam K. Anderson, Professor of psychology at the University of Toronto says, ” Part of the problem is the bombardment of media during the holidays showing images of smiling families and friends. People may start to question the quality of their own relationships.” The popularity of social media makes it even harder.
People who isolate or already feel disconnected may try to avoid people and celebrations during the holiday season. Sadly withdrawing only intensifies the symptoms of holidays blues such as depression, anxiety and fatigue. The good thing to remember is that even the most depressed or isolated person never has to really be alone during the holiday season. There are so many ways to get into the holiday spirit even if you have no friends or close family to share the holidays with. Get up get out and get involved. The holiday season is full of community events full of people just like you.
Here are 5 ways to beat the Holiday Blues
1.) Be realistic about your situation and how you choose to spend the holidays. You may not be able to create your idea of the perfect holiday celebration, but you are in control of how you spend them.
2.) Take a break from social media. Do something you love. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in comparing your life to others. Remember a photo only shows one second of a long day.
3.) Volunteer. There are always people who need your help. Especially during the holiday season. Visit a shelter, a church or hospital and make someone else day. It’s hard to be down when giving back.
4.) Pamper yourself. While everyone else is caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle take some “you” time. Treat yourself, get a new hairdo, hit the spa or plan a special day out.
5.) Don’t shut out the people who do care. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking about who isn’t’ there and the things we don’t have. Sometimes we may not notice or even shut out those who are right there trying to be a friend to us. Take that invite to coffee or accept that invite to dinner. You may have a great time. Don’t limit yourself.
Most importantly, remember that happiness is a state of mind, not a place or object you can obtain. The beautiful thing about that is that means happiness is something we can create anytime, anyplace.