Beat the Holiday Blues

The end of the year is one of my favorite times! Spending time with family & friends, enjoying yummy treats, and making special memories are always so much fun! With all of the holiday traditions that we have, sometimes it is hard to think about someone who does not find this time of year to be a joyous one. There are people who actually dread the holiday season as they have nothing to look forward to. In the mental health profession, this has been called “The Holiday Blues”. 

The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) describes The Holiday Blues as temporary feelings of anxiety and/or depression, during the holidays, that can be associated with extra stress, unrealistic expectations, or memories that can accompany the season. It is found that 64% of people are claimed to be affected by The Holiday Blues. It is also reported that 24% state that the holidays have a negative effect on them. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness/isolation, sadness, and a sense of loss. The Holiday Blues vary from clinical depression and anxiety in that the feelings are short-term. Although the symptoms are temporary, it is still important to take seriously as they can lead to long-term mental health concerns. 

So what are some ways to avoid The Holiday Blues?

- Make sure to continue with normal routines as much as possible. This will allow consistency and normalcy while going through the holidays.

- Sleep is essential. It is recommended that a person should sleep between 6-8 hours a night. Although there is much to do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sleep is still very important.

- Watch your food and drink intake. If you are feeling any depressed symptoms, it is best to avoid alcohol.

- Continue to exercise. Not only will it help burn the calories of all the amazing holiday treats you have consumed, it also increases the endorphins in your brain. Endorphins help combat sadness and fatigue.

- Set a budget. A lot of stress during the holidays is due to financial burdens from buying gifts and the many activities that are planned. If you set a reasonable budget before the holidays get started, this will give you peace of mind about where your money is going!

- Finally, set appropriate expectations and goals during the holidays. There will most likely be a million things that have to be done during the last few weeks of the year. Plan your day out and make a to-do list in order to simplify your life and avoid the chance of double booking yourself.

My hope is that these tips will get you, or someone you know, through the holiday season!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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