Christmas and other holidays are moments to celebrate and, in general, we look forward to them because we associate them with endearing moments of our lives. But for many people this season causes stress and sadness. This is known as the holiday blues.
The holiday blues are a kind of Christmas nostalgia. Of course, it’s not a mental disorder. It is rather the term used to define those moments in which, paradoxically, someone feels mentally and emotionally worn out during a season that’s supposed to be full of hope and festivity.
Why do we feel the holiday blues?
The reasons can be many and very diverse. But one of the main reasons for the discomfort during the holiday season is longing. Sometimes, instead of remembering past moments from a place of gratitude, we do it from a place of lack. This causes a very difficult to explain kind of sadness. Hence, the catchy “holiday blues” name.
On the other hand, nostalgia at Christmas can also be the result of the high expectations we’ve got from the season. TV and online ads, store windows, and even songs… every place seems to emphasize that this is the moment to have fun, enjoy and be merry. Whether well-intentioned wishes or pure marketing, being happy seems more a mandate than a decision we make for ourselves. And since we don’t always get to fulfill that obligation, we feel bad.
There are many things we can do to reduce the holiday blues.
Here are 5 ways:
1. Create realistic expectations.
Let’s start with the most important one. Create realistic expectations. If at Christmas or other festivities you have the opportunity to be with someone you appreciate… you don’t really need something more, do you? You do not need to give or receive the best gifts, nor making a restaurant-quality dinner. Remember: you don’t need to impress anyone.
If you’re going to spend Christmas alone and aren’t used to it, there are many plans you can make. Alone or accompanied the objective is the same: reflect, be grateful and have a good enough time. That’s it.
2. Give yourself some time to recharge.
It’s the season of parties and other social events. And let’s face it, a lot of them are more of a chore than just for fun. You can end up really tired or with your agenda full of things that would not make it to your calendar on any other month. To many people, a calendar full of social events can be a cause of anxiety. So don’t overcommit.
If you are one of those who consider the Christmas atmosphere too noisy and crowded, make sure to take the time you need to rest and recharge your energy level.
3. Avoid Christmas consumerism.
There is no need to buy so many things. Consumerism will wear you out and I’m not talking only about your financial status. If you’re not careful, you can enter a shopping maze from which you’ll get out of until next year. Buying a lot and spending too much takes away energy and time. All in all, it can become overwhelming.
4. Do something comforting.
You don’t have to do what you always do, or what others do. If you want to celebrate the holidays watching movies and having a hot chocolate, do it. If it makes you nervous to cook, organize to have something delivered. If you don’t want to go to a friend’s of a friend gathering, politely decline and stay at home. Do something that is comforting for you and you will see how that nostalgia and/or Christmas anxiety diminishes, even if just a little bit.
5. Be grateful.
Being grateful appears on virtually any “how to feel better” list… and there’s a reason for it: it works. Make an effort to consciously recognize each gesture of kindness that is presented to you. This is known to improve the mood and positively influence our actions. Sometimes it’s hard, but take the time to find the ideal moment for you and try to stop worrying about what you do not have and genuinely appreciate what you do.