There are decorations all around, and holiday music is playing in all the stores. For many people it is a time for celebration — a bright spot in the winter gloom. For others, the holidays may be overwhelming, or lonely, or intense. The stress of obligations can dull the spirit of the season. Family celebrations shown on television may not match a person's experiences.
If you're feeling anxious and stressed rather than filled with joy and hope, you are not alone. Many people feel more blue than jolly. Here are some ideas you can use or share to take care of yourself this holiday season.
Manage Your Feelings
The holidays can cause emotional highs and lows. When feelings are getting too big, take a minute to pause, name the emotion, and give yourself some TLC. You can:
- Make time to rest. Whether giving yourself more time to sleep or taking a short break during the day, rest helps you handle stress.
- Let go of things being picture perfect. Let yourself simply be in a moment and accept it for what it is.
- Breathing exercises can be a great way to reorient when you’re feeling stressed.
- Let yourself cry - even if only for a minute - to relieve some of the pressure.
Reach Out to Others
If possible, reach out to your family or to the community. Social support is key during the holidays, especially if you are feeling lonely. If you don’t have traditional family and friendship support, you can:
- Reach out to someone else who may be lonely. It could be someone you haven’t contacted in a long time. You never know if a call may make their day as much as yours.
- Join a support group. Support groups are available in many communities and provide a great way to reach out. Healthfinder.gov is a good place to start.
- Look into using a mental health app on your smartphone. They can provide useful support and resources, and many are free.
- If possible, volunteer in a place where you can see people or animals. Helping those in need can be a great way to connect yourself with the community. Volunteer Match could be a good place to start learning about opportunities in your community.
Keep It Real
These can be stressful times. Make sure you're not biting off more than you can chew - even with these self-care strategies. If you can do only one of these steps, that’s great. Start small and work your way up. If you’re feeling up to it, choose a few more, but make sure to keep things real. Try not to overdo it, and if you do, then don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn out perfect.
Taking little self-care steps during the holidays can make a big difference. If you’re feeling a little blue this holiday season, use these tips to take extra good care of yourself.