2019 has sped by fast and it’s already annual report and holiday season—or for some people, holiday blues season.
Yes, for a large percentage of the population, holiday season is a stressful time and can give people the blues.
Why Do People Suffer from the Holiday Blues?
There are a number of reasons for why people get the holiday blues.
For one, expectations during the season can be high. Family members and children want the best presents, which can often be expensive, whether they are calendars full of pictures of French Bulldogs or the latest Marvel toy.
People struggling with finances can find the expectations doubly difficult—even if they want to gift their loved ones the presents they have asked for, they are unable to. And that can cause severe anxiety and stress.
Another group of people suffer anxiety due to the stresses they put on themselves—either with regard to planning the perfect family vacation or the best party. It often becomes an exercise in business development, except without any of the experience.
Students also have a difficult time, mainly because they would have recently received results in their healthcare marketing course or learned whether they have been approved to research new HR software for small businesses.
Telling their parents about their failures can be a burden that impacts the enjoyment that students would prefer to feel during the holiday season.
Other people may find the holiday season difficult to handle because of the memory of loved ones now gone. Whether one is spending their first or 21st holiday season without a loved one, it can be painful to acknowledge the loss, which leads to depressive states.
How Can You Beat the Holiday Blues?
The holiday blues can be overwhelming but there are a few things people can do to tackle them.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Wanting the holiday season to be perfect can be overwhelming. It leads to people feeling like they have to accomplish a great deal, in often trying circumstances.
Planning get-togethers, organizing presents, vacations, and getting one’s home ready for visitors, all while doing your day job and working on the new cobranding or email deliverability project is exhausting.
All this simply cannot be accomplished by one person, let alone perfectly. So, give yourself a break. Don’t put additional pressure on yourself by trying to do everything and expecting it all to be perfect.
Instead, do what little you can to the best of your abilities, but don’t overreach. The disappointment of not completing a task, or seeing it fall through entirely, will lead to the holiday blues.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You aren’t a superhero—and even they need help sometimes.
See a Counsellor
As we have mentioned, the holiday season can be particularly difficult for people who have lost loved ones.
If you are struggling with this aspect of the season, it is highly advisable that you speak with a counsellor or therapist who can help you deal with your feelings.
Trying to tackle grief on your own isn’t possible—grief is a powerful emotion and creates serious physiological and mental reactions in a person.
While you may feel that some people are getting by even without external help, that is by no means par for the course. If you need help, seek help from a professional.
And even if you aren’t dealing with grief, but are feeling overwhelmed, speaking to a counsellor can help you understand your feelings and deal with it better.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
One of the worst things you can do when you are feeling down is to isolate yourself. If you are feeling blue, being on your own will only exacerbate the situation.
Being around people may be the last thing you want to do, but it can be far more invigorating for your mind.
However, it is best to avoid crowds, if you think you will feel anxious. Stay in smaller, controlled locations where your mind can relax but not feel alone.
Change Your Holiday Plan
The holiday season is full of traditions, but it could very well be those traditions that are giving you the holiday blues.
If you aren’t in the right frame of mind for it, why not change things up? Instead of hosting a family dinner, attend a talk on poetry culture and etiquette, or visit another country.
You could change something more drastically—instead of exchanging gifts, make it a tradition to share experiences instead.
A change of tradition could elevate your mood and give you something else to look forward to.
Stay Off Social Media
The internet often works as a social proof tool to make you feel like you’re missing out on something—or everything.
It looks like everyone around you is having the best time during the holidays—they are keeping up family traditions, they are meeting all their relatives, they are getting each other the best presents.
For one, this is not how it is, at all. Those perfect social media pictures likely took 30 takes to get right.
The people taking the pictures are probably as stressed as you are—maybe even more, because they have the additional pressure of ‘appearing’ perfect.
Also remember that what you see on social media is a snapshot of people’s lives, not the entirety of it.
Though it may seem like your social feeds are full of people enjoying decorating their trees and giving each other presents, what you don’t see is the inevitable fight that breaks out because one side of the tree has too many decorations, or because someone got the wrong colour for the karaoke set.
It may seem like your social feeds are full of people enjoying decorating their trees and giving each other presents.
What you don’t see is the inevitable fight that breaks out about design collaboration, because one side of the tree has too many decorations, or because someone got the wrong colour for the karaoke set.
The posts you see on social media will put undue stress on you, so use the holiday season to distance yourself from social channels—even WhatsApp, if necessary—if that will make you feel better.
You Can Beat the Holiday Blues
The holiday blues are real and they can put a dampener on your spirit during arguably the most festive time of the year for many.
Understand why you may be suffering from the blues and find ways to tackle it, if it means speaking to someone or making some drastic changes to your tradition.