Ways to combat the holiday blues

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Don't let the stress of the holidays get you down
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Avoid the holiday blues by following these guidelines.

The holidays are often an exciting, joyful time filled with one activity after another and lots of chores to do. With tons of family and friends around, it is hard to imagine anyone experiencing the holiday blues, but many people do experience feelings of sadness or are overwhelmed by the holidays.

Fortunately there are some practical steps you can take to prevent the holiday blues from taking hold. If you simply aren't feeling yourself during the holidays, try the following ways to combat the holiday blues and get back to your regular jolly, holly self!

Set Realistic Goals

Many people think the holidays are going to be the way they are depicted in movies and television. Your decorations may not look perfect, the meal you cook may not be perfect, the house may not be completely clean, the gifts you purchase may not be completely ideal and most importantly the family may not all be getting along swimmingly. But it is still the holidays and there is the chance to have a wonderful time if you are able to accept it, faults and all. Be realistic about your expectations and accepting of the results that come your way.  

Create Family Traditions

We all have family traditions during the holidays. There is a family dinner for Christmas and perhaps for Christmas Eve. Some families have a special get-together to go see Santa or perhaps to go caroling. It is less important what you do and more important that you enjoy it. If your family traditions are causing your family grief, perhaps it is time to look at what you are doing as a family and consider changing your current traditions to fit what you need as a family. One family decided to celebrate Christmas several days late so family members who had taken a plane could relax and recover from jet lag. The children opened their presents on Christmas Day, but the big Christmas dinner was held several days later when everyone could enjoy a fancy sit-down dinner. They had a wonderful time. Make your traditions work for you; don't force your family traditions.  

Don't Overindulge

The holiday season seems like the time when people are overspending, overeating, overdrinking and overdoing everything to a great excess. This is actually a great cause of the holiday blues. That credit card bill is going to come in the mail in the coming year. Those calories are going to catch up with you in a week or so. The alcohol you consume is going to give you a killer hangover. Overindulging always has a price and typically we are unwilling to pay it. Treat yourself well and enjoy some treats in moderation.


Doctors say that exercise is a natural cure for depression. If you are mildly depressed, exercise can help relieve many of your symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins and this makes you feel wonderful! A great family tradition to start can be to take everyone ice skating, go for a walk in the woods or even a walk to look at the department store windows in town. Get some extra exercise everyday and you'll have a great bounce in your step throughout the holiday season.

Take Time For Yourself

The holidays are often a time of sensory overload. You go to the shopping mall and it now has three times the number of people it usually does. The grocery store has twice the number of people. Your home is filled to the brim with family, friends and neighbors sharing holiday cheer. While all of this is a sign of the holidays, it is actually healthy and good to spend a little time by yourself. Get out and take a walk, see a fun holiday movie, do some of your holiday shopping by yourself. Do something that you enjoy and do it by yourself. You'll be glad for the extra feeling of restoration and peace.

Watch for Signs of Serious Depression

Most people can relieve the holiday blues by taking some simple steps. But if you are slipping into a serious depression, you will need a physician's assistance. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a serious depression has the signs of: a persistent sad, anxious or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness or being pessimistic; feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness; loss of interest in hobbies and activities that are enjoyed, including sex; decreased energy, fatigue, being slowed down; difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions; insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping; weight loss or weight gain; restlessness, irritability; persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment such as headaches, digestive disorders or chronic pain. If you experience five or more of these signs every day for two weeks, please consult your physician. If you have any feelings of suicide or thoughts about death, get medical help immediately your life is precious!

The holidays are a wonderful season and deserve to be enjoyed. With a good mood and a good attitude, you can experience all of the fun and happiness that the holidays bring. Follow these ways to combat the holiday blues. Don't let your moods get in the way of your holidays this year life should be enjoyed!

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