University of Florida

Fighting the Holiday Blues

For many people, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. But the holidays can also be stressful or depressing for some people. Here are some tips for keeping your spirits up this holiday season.

Stay Healthy

  • Eat healthy foods. Getting the right nutrition can help prevent illness and improve your state of mind.
  • Don't obsess about exercise or eating. Try to stick to healthy habits, but don't be too critical of yourself if you get off track.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. It's hard to fight stress or depression when you're tired or worn out.

Take Time for Yourself

  • Schedule “me” time. Spending some time for yourself can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Don't forget playtime! Even adults need to relieve stress through recreation.
  • Meditate, pray, or spend silent time. Using "quiet time" to clear your mind can help reduce your stress levels.
  • Have interests outside of work. Even enjoyable jobs can be stressful, and doing other activities will distract you from focusing too much on work.
  • Take a vacation or time off. Spending time with family and friends is important. If you need more time for cleaning, shopping, or other holiday obligations, take a few hours off from work — give your employer ample notice, of course!

Maintain Good Relationships

  • Tell family and friends how much you care about them.
  • Spend time with supportive friends. Supportive friends accept you for who you are and encourage your personal development.
  • Seek positive relationships whenever you can. Don't let negative people add to your stress.
  • Try not to judge others. If you judge others, you're probably also judging yourself.

Release Your Emotions

  • Laugh and cry when you need to. Self-control can be a good thing, but holding in your emotions can add even more stress.
  • Know what makes you happy. If the holidays are getting you down, look for things to lift your mood.

It's natural to experience anxiety and depression symptoms during the holidays. However, if these feelings are severe enough to interfere with your normal relationships, seek help from your family doctor.

Adapted and excerpted from:

C. Wilken, Holiday Blues Checklist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (12/2006).

unhappy girl

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