Conquering the Holiday Blues

The holiday blues refers to specific feelings and symptoms that can mimic depression such as:

-- Depressed mood
-- Decreased interest in life activities normally enjoyed such as social gatherings, shopping, cooking, hobbies
-- Feeling overwhelmed
-- Irritability
-- Fatigue, feeling drained physically and emotionally
-- Sleep or appetite disturbances
-- Anxiety, feeling nervous, edgy or "keyed up"
-- Excessive guilt

What causes the holiday blues?

-- Burning the candle at both ends
-- Putting pressure on ourselves to have everything done today, and done perfectly
-- Not following our normal eating and sleeping routines
-- Using more alcohol
-- Getting together with family can be difficult when discord or unresolved issues exist
-- Unpleasant memories or experiences from prior holidays
-- Financial pressures and expectations of buying gifts

What are some solutions?

-- Keep a regular sleep schedule as much as possible
-- Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet amidst the cookies, eggnog and other goodies
-- Limit alcohol intake (it may make you fall asleep easier, but disrupts the quality of sleep overall)
-- Take medications as prescribed
-- Make sure to schedule alone time to feed your mind, spirit, and body
-- Maintain your exercise routine
-- Don't strive for perfection, rather do the best you can and ask for help from others
-- Limit time at gatherings if needed

How to deal with stress

-- Be realistic. If individuals have locked horns for most of the year, it is not reasonable to think that on one day all will be forgiven. We need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves.
-- Give of yourself. The best gift is not a toy, a trinket or a thing. It is the gift of our presence. It is the gift of our listening. It is the gift of our "being there."
-- Take care of yourself. We do need to take care of our bodies by getting enough exercise and sleep and by eating a healthy diet. We also need to protect our spirit, knowing when to draw a line in the sand and say, "no, thank you for the opportunity but I will not be able to participate." If we give and give, there is nothing left to give.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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