Christmas Blues – How to Deal With Feeling Down During The Holidays and Prioritize Mental Health
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Christmas time and end-of-year holidays are a time of joy and festivities, but it can be an isolating time for people away from their families, those suffering from mental health issues, or simply whomever is going through a difficult time. Here are 5 ways to deal with the holiday blues and take care of yourself during Christmas.
Christmas, a.k.a the happiest time of the year, can feel like the complete opposite if you are dealing with mental health issues or a low mood.
The days near Christmas time are the shortest of the year, making people increasingly susceptible to feelings of depression. Being a traditionally festive and happy holiday, people may feel the pressure to be in a constant mood of enjoyment and having fun, making us feel low if our reality does not reflect these idealized expectations.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, it is important to realize that you are not alone. Studies show that more than 1 in 3 people in the UK feel more unhappy around the festive season. Here are some tips on how to boost your mood and combat the holiday blues during Christmas time.
1. Make small goals and prioritize self-care
Setting small goals is a great way to keep motivated, satisfied and rewarded during everyday life. This is even more the case during a challenging time because it will allow you to maintain your routine and ‘take things one step at a time’ if you are feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated.
These goals can be as big or small as you want and can be anything ranging from making your bed in the morning to reading a few pages a day.
However, if you are feeling particularly down and can only manage very few things, go for self-care.
Self-care is understood as being a pillar for good mental health. Eating well, taking care of your body and getting 8-10 hours of sleep will make you feel more accomplished and are essential in boosting energy levels and mood.
Getting one hour of exercise a day which can include taking a walk outside, is also a great way to boost endorphins for a better mood and decrease stress levels.
2. Talk about your feelings
Feeling low during the holiday season can already be an isolating experience. It may be tempting to isolate yourself from friends and family at such a time, however being alone when struggling can lower your mood even further.
Instead, try to reach out to those close to you to talk about what you are going through. Having someone in your midst who understands what you are dealing with can be very comforting and can make you feel less alone in your feelings. Sometimes even the act of talking to someone is enough to make you feel better.
If you do not have anyone in your close circle that you would like to confide in, consider reaching out to helplines or a professional.
3. Stay off social media
One of the main reasons that Christmas is a difficult holiday for so many people is that there is a preconceived idea of the ideal Christmas. Social media, which is known for showcasing only the best and unrealistic side of people’s lives, will only emphasize this image. Watching others live the seemingly ‘perfect’ holiday will only increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
In fact, studies have shown that those who limit their screen time to 10 minutes a day have reported feeling significantly less lonely and depressed.
Therefore, try to limit your social media screen time as not to get overwhelmed with these unrealistic standards, or allow yourself to delete your socials altogether for the holidays. Take a digital sabbatical!! Try it, we do from time to time and it’s wonderful.
4. Try something different
It is often difficult for those struggling with depression and other mental health disorders to get out of the house and try new activities. However, if you are able to, this is a great way to distract yourself from the pressure surrounding Christmas as well as your negative thoughts and feelings. Get a friend to come pick you up and take you for a walk and a chat or a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
One great activity to consider is volunteering. The benefits of this are countless. Volunteering and helping others are proven to alleviate depressive symptoms. Furthermore, when observing and helping the less fortunate, it is very difficult to feel bad about yourself and succumb to negative thoughts. You will also be constantly surrounded by good company, which greatly reduce feelings of loneliness and provide a good distraction.
5. Set your boundaries
The holidays can be stressful for everyone if you are forced to change environments and routines, especially if you are in a stressful family situation. Having to try to please everyone can be extremely exhausting, especially if you are already feeling low.
This is the best time to learn to set your boundaries and to say no to things that you don’t want.
Please note that these tips are great for combatting the holiday blues, but if you are experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness, it is advised that you seek out professional help. GenMind™, for instance, is a tool that will allow you to assess your day-to-day symptoms, allowing your healthcare provider to evaluate your situation remotely, and create a more efficient and personalized treatment plan for you.
We wish you a good Christmas, peaceful end of year holidays and hope that you take good care of yourself. Don’t let the holidays control how you feel, take control of how you want to spend your holidays!
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