Overcoming the Holiday Blues

By Astrid Richardson

Although the winter/holiday season is often associated with excitement and joy, it can also be a very emotionally stressful time of year. The season of giving and holiday cheer can be anything but joyful when the memories of loss or loneliness overshadow these sentiments. The end of the year can also cause some to evaluate their accomplishments or, lack thereof, leading to feelings of disappointment and sometimes, hopelessness. Whether the issue is the loss of a loved one or something else is bringing you down this season, you’re not alone. Many people experience the holiday blues and there are ways to overcome them so you can enjoy the season.

First and foremost, it’s important to avoid isolation. When we spend too much time alone, it can skew our perception of reality making things seem much worse than they may be in actuality. Human beings are social creatures and it helps to be connected to others. Therefore, support systems are critical to combat isolation and loneliness. A supportive network of caring people can provide the perspective needed to keep you grounded in reality and aware of how important you are to others. Reach out and spend time with friends and loved ones. Don’t be afraid to share that you’re feeling down and could use some support.

It can also be helpful to do something for others, like volunteering for a local charity or cause. Devoting yourself to helping others is a great way to take your mind off of your current troubles, connect you to others, and provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It may also give you a different perspective on your life. Lastly, take the time to reflect on the good things in your life. A gratitude journal is an excellent way to record these thoughts and reflect on them during hard times. It could be as simple as waking up to sunshine or the soothing sound of rain, there is always something for which to be grateful. If not gratitude, you can journal about whatever you’re feeling, as it helps to get the feelings out of your head and on paper. The process can assist in letting go of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you.

Remember that the holiday blues are common and they can be conquered. It may be difficult initially but, with the proper support, the season can provide opportunities to heal and emerge stronger for the coming year.

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