Everything from your favorite radio station to Christmas lights all around keeps reminding you that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.” Then why are you feeling sad?
The holiday blues are a real phenomenon, but there hasn’t been much scientific debate about it. However, there are a lot of things being said in the media and by some experts that lead to the conclusion that “the season to be jolly” triggers regret, sadness, disappointment, and stress in many people.
Some main causes of widespread holiday blues include increased spending, disputes with loved ones, nostalgia, missing someone, and high hopes that lead to disappointment. If you are prone to feeling sad and anxious around the holidays, here are a few ways to feel a little better this winter.
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Don’t Drink Your Sadness Away
A glass or two of wine to make a toast or celebrate with your friends and family is okay. However, drinking more alcohol than you can handle to smile when you don’t feel like smiling will only make things worse.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can actually amplify the negative feelings you already have. If you’ll be spending most of your time at home, try not to keep alcohol readily available. If you are attending a celebration, limit your intake to one or two glasses.
“Comfort Food” Is Not Always Comforting
During the holidays, we eat a lot of sugar and foods high in fat and calories. We might call some of these meals “comfort foods,” but they are, in fact, food that makes us uncomfortable. These foods can lead to mood swings, drowsiness, and generally poor mental health.
A holiday diet that can boost your energy and your feel-good hormones includes fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy foods, lean meat, and whole grains. Some of the holiday favorites (when prepared healthily), such as pumpkins, cranberries, turkey, and other Christmas and Thanksgiving foods can make your skin glow and provide various health benefits.
Be Honest (with Yourself and Others)
Christmas is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It happens every year. If you’re not up for a party this year, whatever the reason is, you should open up. First, admit to yourself that you are feeling sad and admit that what you are experiencing are all valid emotions. Then talk to your friends and family. Share your feelings. You will feel better after you communicate your emotions to your loved ones.
“Underdo” the Holidays
You don’t need a gigantic Christmas tree. You don’t have to exchange expensive gifts. If you come to an understanding with your family and friends, you can “underdo” the holidays. Keep it simple this year. You will save a lot of money and thus eliminate at least one of the main holiday stressors. Focus on your most cherished traditions, and don’t waste your energy (and money) on the stuff that’s actually not worth keeping up, whatever that might be for you and your family.
Create New Traditions
After you’ve ditched the elaborate Christmas traditions that make you feel uncomfortable, you can create new ones. If you don’t feel like having dinner with your cousins, why not meet up with some friends for game night? You can create a unique tradition with one friend. Cook dinner together. Talk about the good old days. Listen to your favorite albums. Do something pleasant for both of you.
Don’t Let the Cold Bring You Down
November, December, and January often bring cold, dark, and gloomy days. These conditions wear us down eventually, even when we’re feeling that holiday joy. The weather also calls for a more indoor sedentary lifestyle, which definitely ends up bringing us down.
To counteract the bad weather, try to spend more time outdoors or at least open your windows often. Try to be active. If jogging in the cold is not something that you would do, head to the gym. This can even be the time to finally take dancing lessons or try any other physical activity you like.
Sprinkle the Season with Self-care and Self-love
When faced with a challenge such as the holiday blues, the key is to take good care of yourself. Do that by listening to your needs and honoring your emotions. Spend some time alone and try to figure out what you want to do during the holidays. Without being rude to the people you love, share your concerns and wishes with them. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling sad, or because you are putting your needs first.
Also, make sure you get enough sleep and take time to nourish your body, skin, and hair. Lastly, this is the perfect time to meditate or practice yoga to help you relax.
The holiday season is overwhelming for many of us. Hopefully, these tips will help you get through it safely and find some joy in the mess that people can make out of the holidays.