Cheer is not always the prevailing emotion at the holidays. Many people experience serious holiday blues that are more than just an isolated bad mental health day. Getting out of that rut or avoiding it altogether is not always straightforward. However, the holiday blues do not have to dominate this upcoming season for you. People who already struggle with a mental health disorder are more likely to experience holiday sadness, but the holiday blues can impact anyone. You can avoid holiday depression and make the most of this holiday season by taking a few key tips to heart. Reach out to The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® at 855.773.0614 if you or someone you love requires holiday depression treatment.
What Are the Holiday Blues?
You likely have at least a general notion of the holiday blues. It is a common enough trope in modern society. Yet, it is worth unpacking exactly what experiencing the holiday blues entails and some common instigators. First, they are simply defined as holiday depression or sadness linked to extra stress, unrealistic expectations, or even holiday-associated trauma such as a past death in the family. Symptoms related to the holiday blues include:
- A sense of loss
What separates the holiday blues from a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety is its temporary nature. However, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t take them seriously. A short-term dip in mental health can linger and become a longer-term issue if not dealt with adequately.
3 Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Blues
Holiday sadness is not inevitable. Even if you may be predisposed to experiencing holiday depression, implementing a few tips can help in overcoming the holiday blues.
1. Prioritize Physical Health
The holidays can be a time of high stress, incredible amounts of food, and late nights. It is essential to ensure you take care of your physical health, which means eating healthy, balanced meals, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. Moreover, many people are tempted to cope with holiday sadness or depression by drinking alcohol. Avoid it altogether if you are experiencing the holiday blues. Ultimately, neglecting the physical basics will only intensify any mental health struggles brought on by the holidays.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
The holidays sure can be magical. However, unmet expectations can be a major downer. One way to manage this is to set realistic expectations in the first place. That doesn’t mean expecting things to go wrong or assuming that you will bump up against difficult mental health days. But it does mean planning for the possibility. Healthy expectations related to shopping, sending holiday cards, hosting family, or attending social events are key to caring for your mental health.
3. Make Space to Relax
The holidays can feel taxing. It is also a time of year where the pressure to be social and spend every waking moment with other people is real. If that is what energizes you and fills you up, that’s great. Taking care of your mental health means creating time and space dedicated to your mental and physical needs. Finding opportunities to relax and engage in beloved pastimes is just as important during the holidays as it is at any other point of the year.
Learn About Your Treatment Options at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®
The holiday blues may not stop when the holidays end. If that’s the case, seeking depression treatment may be the right next step. The two primary depression treatment options are therapy and medications. In general, people find the most relief from depression and depression-related symptoms by using a combination approach of medication and therapy. It is important to work with a doctor that specializes in treating depression in order to receive the appropriate medication. Many different types of therapy exist, each with its own approach. Call The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® at 855.773.0614 to learn more about effective depression treatment methods.