Holiday Blues

Holiday blues is referred to as a temporary feeling of sadness or even anxiety that people may experience during the holiday season. The holiday season often correlates with experiencing joy, celebration, togetherness however, this season can also bring out a variety of stressors and emotions that some may find difficult to cope with. Common images of the holidays are of cheer, family, and/or friends, and the reality many experience loneliness this time of year.  For some, the holiday season can bring feelings of loneliness especially if they’re away from friends and family or especially if they have experienced loss. This could particularly affect newcomers/immigrants who are so far away from their loved ones and the only way to communicate is through a phone.

 Expectations of the perfect holiday season that is often fueled by societal and media influences can lead to disappointment when the reality doesn’t match up. Capitalism is a driving force of the holidays, and many communities and individuals have lost connection of the true essence of the holidays. People cannot escape holiday ads from corporations, and have felt the pressure of gifts are they way to our loved ones’ hearts. The pressure to buy gifts and even host gatherings or travel can lead to financial strain which could contribute to the feelings of stress and anxiety. 

To alleviate feelings of holiday blues

Recognize within yourself that it’s okay to feel sad or lonely during the holidays. For immigrants and newcomers, this may be even more difficult as their families are so far away. Allow yourself to acknowledge and accept your emotions without judgment. 

Give yourself permission to communicate with friends and family members miles away. The sound of a familiar voice, laugh can bring about a sense of warmth inside.  The connection with friends and family is the reminder you need to feel a sense of belonging and worth.  Also, share your feelings with someone you trust. Sometimes, talking about your emotions can provide relief. 

Practice self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you pleasure. Physical well-being can have a positive impact on your emotional state. Self care is of most importance and finding time to take care of yourself while recognizing coping mechanisms that work best for you can have a positive impact on your overall health. Physical activity is known to improve mood and reduce stress. Find activities you enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk, practicing yoga, or engaging in a sport. This will keep you motivated, distracted and could also improve your mental health. Connecting with the community can reunite our faith in humanity.This can look like volunteering your time or resources to a charitable organization. Adopting a family, and providing a food hamper for those in need. Reach out to an elder in your neighborhood and have a friendly chat for a few minutes. Helping others in need can be a fulfilling experience because it is a lovely reminder of our agency and commitment to our values. If you find it challenging to cope with holiday blues, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and tools to help you navigate difficult emotions.

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