Holiday Blues

Dec 06, 2014

Let's not kid ourselves, as wonderful as the holidays can be and are touted to be, they can be hard, especially for those who must routinely manage stress and depression.

The season is beautiful and full of delightful sites, sounds, smells and tastes.  But all that can come with a great amount of pressure.  We might feel pressured to appear happy all the time when inside we are truly sad.  We feel pressure to spend money, to provide our kids with a great holiday experience, yet the financial stress can be absolutely overwhelming.  We may feel we need to entertain our friends or attend parties and activities we would really rather skip.  And the pressure to over indulge with food and drink is everywhere.  It is so easy to become stressed and withdraw in sadness.

The Holday Blues.png

While it's understandable to have these feelings, they don't have to dominate your holiday season.  Here are some ideas for coping with your feelings of stress, anxiety and depression:

    • Notice that you are sad or stressed but don't get angry with yourself or blame your self for these feelings.  Acknowledge that this time of year is can be rough for you and many others. 
    • Don't withdraw or isolate.  Reach out to friends and family and let them know that you are having a rough day.  Going for a cup of coffee or a walk with a friend can help increase positive feelings without creating pressure to have those "happy holiday" feelings.
    • But don't feel you have to do everything either.  It's ok to say no to a party or baking obligation once in awhile. It might not seem like it's safe or ok to do that, but try it. You will be surprised how quickly others adapt to the fact that you are saying no.
    • Let go of perfection. There is no perfect holiday season, gift or family.  Let me say that again:  There is no perfect holiday season, gift or family.  There is only our very real relationships and experiences and we're all doing the best we can.
    • Now more than ever get exercise, sleep and eat well.  It is at times of stress, like the holidays, that those healthy habits really pay off.  This doesn't mean it's a great time to suddenly take up an extreme sport or go on that new vegan diet.  But routinely taking a walk, getting to bed on time and watching the sugar consumption can pay off in less stress and more energy.
    • Close your eyes for a minute and take a deep breath.  Think of that one thing about the holidays that makes you smile. Hold that image.  Smile.  Return to this exercise several times in the next few weeks.  You are releasing all kinds of good stuff to your brain.  And we all need that now and all year long.
    • If after trying these ideas, you continue to feel persistently sad and anxious, get professional help.  It is important to seek help if you are anxious and irritable, having trouble sleeping, experience changes in appetite and feel hopeless most of the time. A professional can help you with these serious effects of depression.



If you are struggling with stress, anxiety or depression in your life contact us at Embark Counseling for a free consultation.


Darcia DeSalvo

Darcia is a Partner with Embark Counseling Get in touch with her at

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