Getting Over Holiday Stress

With the holidays approaching, many people are excited to celebrate their connection with family and friends. However, many Americans have a different reaction to the holidays - many experience stress, anxiety, and sadness. These feelings are known as a form of depression more commonly known as the “holiday blues.” These feelings could come on due to:

  • Balancing demands from family members (i.e., shopping for gifts, cleaning, and preparing for holiday parties)
  • Family get-togethers that devolve into disagreements
  • Problems with family health and safety
  • Grieving or supporting loved ones who are suffering

Due to the flu and COVID-19 season approaching, many people may feel the need to isolate to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from illness, adding to the stress they may already feel. When a person suffers from the holiday blues, they may experience several symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue or a lack of energy
  • Having trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches

These symptoms start off mild but may quickly worsen depending on the severity of stressors experienced by a person during the holidays. It is important for everyone to learn how to combat the holiday blues during this time of year. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to manage symptoms.

  • Limit alcohol consumption - drinking to excess can affect your mood and possibly amplify negative feelings.
  • Get plenty of sleep - being well rested can help boost your mood and keep you refreshed.
  • Exercise regularly - taking a brisk 10-minute walk releases endorphins that can further boost your mood.
  • Be open to new traditions - managing every portion of the holidays to fit a certain image of what the holidays “should” look like can be exhausting. Consider allowing new traditions to unfold that may further your bond with family and friends.
  • Seek support when mourning a loved one - although it may be tempting to isolate yourself while grieving, it can be beneficial to spend time with your friends and family, who can help support you during this difficult time.

Knowing how to manage the holiday blues may help you support a family or friend who is suffering. The holiday season is a time for people to feel connected to one another, so be sure to support your friends and family if they’re struggling during this season. If you or a loved one find yourself struggling with the holiday blues, there are resources available for your support at memorialcare.org/mentalhealth, or you can call (562) 933-0050.