Mental Health Mondays: Beating the Holiday Blues

By Betsy Vasquez, Therapist

With the holiday season upon us, the “holiday blues” is a very real and present phenomenon. It’s a feeling of sadness and even depression, which can spring from numerous sources — not being able to celebrate with family due to distance, remembering a beloved family member who has died or not having a significant other to spend the holidays with.

As a survivor of the holiday blues, I know what it’s like to feel out of it during the holidays when you are supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy. My first holiday season away from my family and friends were tough; however, I learned to overcome my holiday depression and so can you.

Here are five tips to help you beat the holiday blues:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings
    It’s OK that the holidays are rough — admitting that normalizes your feelings and can make you feel less isolated.
  2. Talk to a friend
    Reaching out is the best way to combat the solitude the holidays can bring. Talk to a friend, co-worker or someone you consider a confidant. Don’t go through this alone, there are people who care.
  3. Avoid alcohol and substance abuse
    When you are sad, don’t turn to drugs or alcohol abuse to lift your mood. They have the opposite effect. This is the number one way to intensify the sadness and increase the loneliness.
  4. Make your own traditions
    If spending time with your family brings stress or you family simply isn’t around, spend the holiday with friends. It’s called Friendsgiving. Hosting or attending a Friendsgiving allows you to celebrate with your friends, which can lift your mood and help establish new, meaningful traditions.
  5. Know when you need professional help and ask for it
    If the sadness is too intense and you feel like you can’t handle it anymore, seek professional help from a mental health provider. There is no shame in getting help for your mental health.

I hope these tips help to make your holiday season more joyous and stress free.

Happy Holidays!