“It’s the most wonderful time of the year..” But is it? At least not for everyone, right? The holiday season is full of expectations, anticipations, and misconceptions that people should be happy and excited. The holidays are romanticized through movies, social media, and non-stop holiday music, which can make you feel like an outsider when you're not happy or excited about it. The arrival of the holiday season does not mean the daily emotional struggles are gone. It can be a time of great joy or great disappointment for different people. The reasons for holiday depression vary from person to person. For some people, the memories of deceased loved ones and a sense of longing or pain to be with them can be a struggle, while for others, the expectations of how things should or must be, become a struggle to enjoy the holidays.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It?
Pretending to be happy is a heavy burden. When you're in a bad mood, trying to get into the so-called holiday spirit can be exhausting. Struggling to keep up with conversations, laughing at jokes, caring about what people say, and maintaining appearances can be draining rather than joyful and refreshing. While there's no "right way" or "wrong way" to cope with the holiday blues, choosing healthy options for proactively dealing with your emotions can offer the best results.
When we try to ignore or push away our emotions, they manifest themselves in another form and wreak havoc. So, if you are feeling the holiday blues, give yourself permission to feel that way and accept your feelings and emotions. Hurt, frustration, pain, sadness, and anger are all natural and healthy parts of the human experience. If you try to suppress these emotions, you will find it difficult to grow. So, to live a fulfilling life, we need to feel all emotions, both positive and negative. Think of your emotions as ocean waves. They come and go, rise and fall. Anger and sadness are necessary and useful parts of the human experience. An essential part of learning to cope with your emotions is the practice of self-compassion. This simply means treating and responding to yourself as you would to a loved one who is struggling. You deserve to be kind to yourself as much as you are to those you love.
Sometimes it doesn't matter why we feel a certain way, but holiday blues can help you understand it by identifying the root cause, which can help you deal with it. Identifying some of the causes of holiday blues can influence how we deal with them or manage them.
Traditions Done Your Way
Holidays are steeped in tradition, which can be both a blessing and a curse for those who have the blues. Therefore, creating your own holiday traditions, even if they have nothing to do with holidays, can be a helpful way to cope with the blues. Go to the spa, get a massage, invite your friends to a comedy show, or do other activities that can unwind and become a tradition for holidays moving forward.
Remember, this is only a short period of the year. Soon the hustle and bustle will end, and life will go on as usual. So, treat yourself kindly during this time and find ways to relax and take time for yourself during these holidays. Find healthy ways to boost your dopamine levels by going for a walk, listening to music, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and practicing mindfulness through meditation, prayer, and deep breathing to ground yourself.
If you feel hopeless, have suicidal thoughts, or have changes in appetite and sleep patterns, talk to your doctor or a mental health practitioner who can help you through this.
Mental Health Counselor Intern