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Dealing With Holiday Blues & Depression This Christmas

christmas-sad-tree-400x400As you know by now, we are well and truly in the middle of ‘The Holidays’.

We’re supposed to look forward to the holidays and hope that they will be a time of happiness, friendliness, fellowship, and harmony.

Yet often our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression, commonly called holiday blues.

Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends.

Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events. Over drinking, overeating, and fatigue may also cause it.

The demands of the season seem to be endless: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping and extra financial burden.


Here are some tools to get through the holiday season happily, as well as ways to prevent problems and misery for yourself and your loved ones.

1. Be reasonable with your schedule. Do not overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion–this makes people cranky, irritable, and depressed (and definitely no fun to be around!).

Making Christmas plans in advance, so you know how and with whom your holidays will be spent. Uncertainty and putting off decision-making adds enormous stress to this time of year.

Ask for help from your family and children. Women tend to think they have to do everything, when a team effort can be more fun.


2. Don’t overstretch your budget. Not enough money or the fear of not having enough to buy gifts leads to sadness and guilt. The stress of financial hardship during the holidays is often compounded by shame.

Get thrifty with your gift giving this christmas, afterall its the thought that counts. Giving home made treats will impress the whole family, check out some these recipes for yummy and healthy christmas options.

Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.


3. Remember, no matter what our plans, the holidays do not automatically take away feelings of aloneness, sadness, frustration, anger, and fear.

It’s appropriate to mourn if you’re separated from or have lost loved ones and spend time alone to reflect and grieve, if necessary.

Pushing down feelings leads to depression. Let yourself feel. Then do something nice for yourself and socialise.


4. Be careful about resentments related to holidays past. Declare an amnesty with whichever family member or friend you are feeling past resentments.

Do not feel it is helpful or intimate to tell your relative every resentment on your laundry list of grievances. Don’t let your relative do that to you, either.


5. Don’t expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child.

They never are. You are not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in the family is either.


Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 1.45.47 pm6. Feeling like you are under scheduled or under planned for the holidays?

Volunteer to serve holiday dinner at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen.

Another way to give back is to work with any number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalised children at the holidays.

There are many, many opportunities for doing community service. No one can be depressed when they are doing community service.


7. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities: window-shop and look at the holiday decorations.

Plan an excursion to look at people’s Christmas lights on their homes, take a trip to the countryside, etc.-the opportunities are endless.


8. If you drink, do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging and hangovers. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.

To find out how to deal with alcohol overindulgence at Christmas time, click here.


Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.55.56 pm9. Give yourself a break; create time for yourself to do the things you love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness.

Aerobic exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, spiritual practices, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life.


10. Most of all, if you find yourself feeling blue just remember: The choice is always yours: The sky is partly sunny and the glass is half full and revel in our gratitude for our health, opportunities, happiness and our courage to face each day with hope and determination.


If symptoms of depression are severe or continue for a few weeks, more than the holidays may be the cause.

Talk to your Emed practitioner about treatment options.


Further Reading:

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