Health Advocate Blog

Beat the seasonal blues

The flurry of seasonal activities can add to the stress of everyday life. And for some people, the holiday obligations and the pressure to be merry can trigger feelings of anxiety, sadness or loneliness. Try these tips to tap into the holiday spirit in ways that can help make you feel centered and delighted rather than drained:

Focus on activities that truly matter to you.  It could be the simple act of giving and receiving greetings or attending a local holiday concert with a friend versus going to lots of parties. Or, doing fun activities like seeing the lights with the kids, or volunteering at a food bank versus baking dozens of treats.

Appreciate the small moments of joy. Just seeing the winter moon shining through the trees or your dog romping through the first snowfall can bring heartfelt delight.

Share the load. You don’t have to handle the festivities alone and you don’t have to “do it all” perfectly! Invite others to bring their favorite dish to a potluck, for example.

Rethink gift-buying. Consider bypassing the frantic shopping, wrapping, shipping costs, etc. Instead of pricey store-bought gifts, focus on sharing the warmth of the season. Take mom, grandma or your brother to brunch for some memorable one-on-one time, for example. Or, make donations to a charity in someone’s name on your list.

Sidestep squabbles. With more time spent indoors at family gatherings, tensions can surface.

Instead of reacting, just observe what you’re feeling and greet your emotions with kindness. This may help you experience better connectedness with others.

Block out time to slow down and recharge. Read, listen to music by candlelight or hang out with friends. Keep your sleep schedule on track and eat nutritious meals, avoiding filling up on too many holiday goodies! Plus, curb alcohol, which can affect your moods.

 Feeling overwhelmed? Take a break to walk outside. A walk in the fresh air, feeling your feet firmly strike the ground, can bring you back to the calmness of the moment, silencing anxious thoughts.

Don’t suffer through the “seasonal blues.” Talk to your doctor about a referral to a licensed counselor, or contact a licensed counselor for help.