Although I often say, “I love the holidays!”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I equate the holidays with happiness. Instead, on a more personal level, I often feel a sense of longing, sadness, and melancholic during the colder months. There really is such a thing as the “holiday blues”! It is not uncommon to feel a bit of sadness during this time of year due to weather changes. We see less daylight and more rain.
However, seasonal depression can be a sign of major depression or bipolar disorder, and I would urge you not to dismiss these feelings, especially if it’s a common occurrence. If you find yourself in a “funk” that lasts for several days or weeks at a time, changes to your eating or sleep patterns, it may be time to see a doctor.
For me personally, the holiday blues is often triggered by loneliness. I grew up with a big family and the holidays often meant spending a lot of time with extended family from Thanksgiving through New Years. Because I have so many cousins, nieces, and nephews, Christmas shopping and gift wrapping were a huge part of our holiday traditions. My mother and I would spend a lot of time together doing just that!
In college, I often had friends and classmates preparing to go home for the holidays whereas that wasn’t something my family and I could afford to do. Because of this, I often felt quite a bit of sadness at the beginning of October, and that sadness often peaked at the beginning of December. Over the years, I’ve discovered ways to help combat seasonal depression, which I must add, can be helpful for any kind of depression or sadness you might be experiencing.
Firstly, I’d like to mention that participating in Blogmas might be a great tool for you. So far, I’ve noticed that the daily reflection has allowed me to be a bit more self-aware of my feelings and how I’m doing emotionally. It also provides me a daily goal, which ultimately, should provide some feel-good activities! So far, I’ve been very active in participating in holiday activities I’ve included on my Christmas bucket list. Truly, this is all thanks to Blogmas.
In addition to Blogmas, here are 5 ways to kick the holiday blues that I have found to be most effective:
1. Get out of the house.
I know, I know – you just want to stay in watching Netflix, maybe read a Harry Potter book while sipping your hot cocoa. (I know this because this is exactly how I want to spend my holidays.) Well, my dear, you can’t spend the ENTIRE month of December doing this! During the winter, you’ll want to get as much sunlight as you possibly can.
2. Keep a journal.
It’s always a good idea to keep a journal. Journaling provides you the opportunity to reflect and keep track of not only events in your life but also your emotions. It allows you self-reflection which is essential to personal wellness.
3. Stay connected.
If you’re far from family, this is especially important! It is something I need to remind myself, as well. I try to keep in touch with my parents on a more regular basis during the holidays so I feel more included in their lives and them in mine.
4. Invest time to do things you want to do this holiday season.
I think this is equally important. Every year, I find myself saying, “there is always next year” while I push back events. Truthfully, money is always a factor, but listen to me when I say that fun is a necessary investment.
5. Talk about it.
Talk to Mom. Call your best friend. Tell your cat. Schedule a visit with your therapist. The absolute last thing you want to do is bottle up your emotions and let them fester. Work on them with a loved one or professional.
Are you suffering from seasonal depression or the “holiday blues”? Do you have any suggestions on getting through this time of year?