7 Ways To Beat the Holiday Blues

This blog is by friend of Maxine's Heavenly, Linda Villines of keep kilter

Thanksgiving is upon us. Christmas is right around the corner, so ‘tis the season to be jolly and merry right? Shopping, parties, and festivities would make it seem like these months are a guaranteed jovial time, but it’s quite common for people to feel anything but. Perhaps you’ve suffered a recent break up, lost a loved one, are worried about your budget or debt, have health issues that become exacerbated around holiday gatherings, dread impeding family conflict, or you just plain get stressed out and exhausted by the frenzy of this season. The holidays can be a strain on our wellbeing as much as they can be a much-needed relief from the norm.

There is much to enjoy this season, but there can be many reminders of whom we are missing, what we lack, relational disputes, and health problems. It’s wise to not only approach this season with extra self-care, but it’s also wise to give extra care and compassion to others. Consumerism and gluttony dominate the holidays, but the best parts of this season can’t be bought or devoured. They are enjoyed in acts of kindness, love, and solidarity.

Here are 7 ways to beat those holiday blues!

1. Prioritize quality sleep.

Stress is exhausting. So is depression. Lack of quality sleep contributes to the potential drain of this season. Hopping from party to party, juicing up on highly caffeinated pumpkin lattes, drinking holiday cocktails, and running from store to store is a recipe for serious fatigue.

Make sleep a priority by maintaining healthy and consistent sleep patterns. That means getting at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep every night. Minimize daytime napping and limit caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

prioritize sleep

2. Prioritize movement.

Moving your body reduces stress and increases your happy hormones. Working up a sweat means your body is detoxing and you’re not overloaded with toxins that make you tired, cranky, and sluggish.

Even 30 minutes of movement everyday has been shown to improve moods significantly. If you can’t squeeze in a brisk walk or yoga class, make active choices throughout your day that force you to move. Take the stairs. Walk to the store. Park at the farthest parking spot. Stand instead of sit at your desk.

prioritize movement

3. Don’t go crazy with indulgences.

The bevy of sweets and treats of this season are tempting, but the holidays are not a free pass to go nuts and overindulge. You know you’re going to feel gross and icky. You also know it’s not worth it. The extra weight, heaviness, and lethargy that accompany overeating and overdrinking are not going to do your mood any favors. In fact, excessive sugar and alcohol consumption always result in crashing and feeling hung-over.

Feast in moderation. Your mental and physical health will thank you.

4. Set a budget and stick to it.

There is no reason to blow your budget or go into debt for the holidays. The people in your life who love you love you because of who you are, not because of what you buy them or how impressive the decorations in your home are.

Thoughtful and unique gifts elicit the same amount of ooohs and aaahs as fancy and extravagant ones. The memories we hold in our hearts are created in experiences, not things. Create a detailed budget for what you are comfortable spending this season and don’t deviate from it. The pressure to spend excessively over the holidays doesn’t have to break the bank or your mood.

5. Connect with friends and loved ones.

It’s easy to isolate ourselves when we feel depressed, lonely, or stressed, but isolation just feeds itself. Reach out to people you care about, no matter how far away they are. Luckily we live in a technological world that makes this easy.

If grief hits you hard this season this is particularly important to do. You don’t need to constantly be surrounded by people because that’s just as draining, but make an effort to engage with your friends and loved ones. Don’t hide in grief. A phone call, movie date, or video chat can go a long way in lifting moods and alleviating tension.

If friends or loved ones are scarce, volunteering is a good way to not only do a solid service for others but it gives you an opportunity to be around other people in a positive environment.


6. Make time for yourself.

Set aside time to be with yourself. Decompress in the calm of your own company. Find moments away from the clamor and craze of the season. Make time to be in nature or do something quiet to relax and de-stress. It’s easy to get wrapped up in taking care of others, taking care of your home, planning, or going from one event to another and before you know it you’ve multitasked yourself into being burnt out, irritated, and depressed.

Pause and prioritize you-time, time when you aren’t doing something for someone else, organizing, cleaning, or socializing. Turn off your phone, take a bath, read a book, or take a leisurely stroll in the park.

7. Be realistic and authentic.

Don’t expect too much from yourself or from others this season. You don’t need to go to all the parties, buy all the stuff, and see all the people. No one and no family are perfect.

If you aren’t feeling festive or cheery, it’s ok. If you don’t have a budget to splurge on this or that, it’s ok. You shouldn’t feel forced to put on a happy face all the time or blow your savings for the holidays.

Communicate honestly and gently with the people in your life and with yourself. Be flexible and open. Sometimes things work out how we want and sometimes it’s different. Don’t let unreasonable or strict expectations set up you for unnecessary disappoint.

The holiday blues are more common than Hallmark would make us believe. Practice self-care, empathy, generosity, and compassion towards yourself and others. Try to take things moment-to-moment and day-by-day. If your mood does not alleviate after the holidays you could be experiencing more serious physical or mental health issues and should contact your healthcare provider.


Read more from Linda Villines at keepkilter.com.

Hungry yet?

Order Online