How To Get Over Holiday Depression ?

How To Get Over Holiday Depression When Your Days Aren’t Merry and Bright

For some people, the holiday season can be a very difficult time of year. It is a time of sadness and loneliness, a time of self-evaluation and reflecting on the past and a time of anxiety about the future year.

For many people instead of the holidays being a time when “the days are merry and bright,” they are more likely to be experiencing the blues for many different reasons. Those who have lost loved ones or who are separated from loved ones at the holidays can find it to be a very blue time.

In addition to the current state of the economy and unemployment rates, many people are likely to be feeling the financial blues.

Take a look at and learn a bit more about the “Holiday Blues.” With a bit of understanding about this common emotional state, your holidays might be a little fewer blues.

The material for this page is from many of the articles and presentations that I have given over the years about surviving the Holiday Blues including the material in the Holiday Blues Brochure created as an online resource.


Defining Holiday Blues – Holiday Depression

Holiday Blues can be defined as

A feeling of sadness, loneliness, depression and even anxiety that often occur in and around the holiday season.

What are the Holiday Blues – Holiday Depression?
One definition for the Holidays Blues is

“a feeling of sadness, loneliness, depression and even anxiety that often occur in and around the holiday season.”It is very helpful for people to realize, especially when feeling blue, that while the Holiday Blues can be emotional, intense and upsetting, but they tend to be short-term lasting at the most about 2 weeks.

The Blues end and people generally get better once the holiday season is over and get back into their normal daily routine.


Why People Feel eBlue – Depressed During the Holidays

Factors that Contribute to the Blues – Holiday Depression

There are many different reasons that people feel blue during the holidays and many of different factors that can make the holiday season a time that leaves people feeling blue.

Factors contributing to the blues include:

  • 1Increased stress and anxiety
  • 2Increased financial pressures
  • 3Fatigue
  • 4Unrealistic expectations
  • 5Inability to be with family
  • 6Memories of past holiday celebrations
  • 7Over commercialization
  • 8Change in diet
  • 9Change in daily routines
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Who is at risk of Holiday Depression? 

Who experiences the Blues?

People who have had lost a loved one, experienced financial setbacks or are separated from their loved ones at the holidays are often at risk for feeling the blues.

Those who might be at risk for feeling blue at the holidays include:

    • 1Someone who has a death in the family
    • 2Someone who has experienced financial setbacks at the holidays
    • 3Someone who is separated from loved ones at the holidays with work, military obligations or other reasons
    • 4Someone who has experienced other losses – moving, recent difficult medical diagnosis
    • 5Someone who has experienced a change in lifestyle – getting married, getting divorced, new baby
    • 6Someone who tends to be depressed, stressed, anxious


Those Who Feel Blue – Holiday Depression

People who have had lost a loved one, experienced work or financial setbacks, or are separated from their loved ones at the holidays are at risk for feeling the blues.


Recognizing the Blues – Holiday DepressionHow can I recognize the Blues?

The Holiday Blues often present with:

  • Headaches
  • An inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite that cause either weight loss or gain
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt
  • Diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate
  • Decreased interest in activities that usually are enjoyable, such as food, sex, work, friends, hobbies, and entertainment.


Coping with the Blues – Holiday Depression

Basic Ways of Coping with the Holiday Blues

For anyone feeling blue during the holidays can follow some very basic, common-sense steps to help in coping with the blues.

  • 1Take things one day at a time and if need be one hour at a time.
  • 2Try and maintain a normal routine. Keep doing your normal daily activities.
  • 3Get enough sleep or at least enough rest.
  • 4Regular exercise, even walking, helps relieve stress, tension and improve moods.
  • 5Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Limit high-calorie foods and junk food.
  • 6Avoid using alcohol, medications or other drugs to mask the pain.
  • 7Do those activities or things and be with the people that comfort, sustain, nourish and recharge you.
  • 8Remember the healthy coping strategies you have used in the past to survive challenges. Draw on these strengths again.
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Get Your REST Helps in Handling the Holiday Blues

  • One of the best ways to handle the Holidays and cope with the holiday distress is to Remember to get your R-E-S-T
  • Reasonable expectations and goals.
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Eat and drink in moderation. Enjoy free activities.
  • Simplify to relieve stress.
  • Set a budget for social activities and gifts. Simple gifts can still bring happiness.
  • Time to relax and remember.
  • Spend time with caring, supportive people. Keep in mind that traditions can be changed.
  • Good News on the Blues
  • The Holiday Blues are intense, emotional and upsetting, but they also tend to be short-term lasting around two weeks.

Other Causes of the Holiday Blues
What else might the Blues be?

During the holidays there are several different things that people can be feeling or experiencing. People who are feeling excessive stress, anxiety, grief or depression may benefit from talking with a professional.
1- Holiday Blues
2- Stress
3- Anxiety
4- Grief
5- SAD – Seasonal Affect Disorder
6- Depression


When to Be Concerned about the Blues
Feeling Depressed?


Getting Professional Help for the Blues
Anyone who is experiencing the “blues” consistently over a period of several weeks (more than 2 weeks) should seek professional help.

Some of the people that can be contacted to help someone feeling more than the blues include: physicians, primary care providers, mental health care providers, counselors, clergy, crisis lines, support groups, or mental health centers.

Talking with a professional or taking a mental health screening test can help assess whether it’s the “blues” or depression.


When to Get Help

Anyone who experiences the Holiday Blues constantly for more than 2 weeks should seek professional help.

When to Be Concerned
You should be concerned if you or a loved one is:
1- Constantly sad, anxious, or in an empty mood
2- Sleeping too much or too little
3- Having insomnia middle-of-the-night or early morning waking
4- Experiencing a change in appetite either reduced or increased.
5- Having a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
6= More irritable or restless
7- Experiencing difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
8- More Fatigued or having a loss of energy
9- Feeling inappropriate guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
10- Experiencing thoughts of death or suicide

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** Anyone with suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation needs to seek immediate care with their physician, crisis line or the nearest hospital emergency department.**


How To Get Over Holiday Depression?


Getting Rid of the Blues
One way to handle the holiday blues is to do something nice for someone else.

How to feel less blue during the Holidays
There are several things that can help in making it easier to manage the blues.

1- Determine your priorities and establish realistic goals for the holidays.
2- Delegate some responsibilities to others.
3- Take time for yourself.
4- Minimize financial stressors by setting a budget and sticking to it.
5- Enjoy free holiday activities.
6- Think about giving a free gift from your heart. Your time or your presence.
7- Be around supportive people.
8- Volunteer and help someone else.
9- Create a New Holiday Tradition.
10- Find a new place or a new way to celebrate.

Holiday Blues Do End

The Holiday Blues end and people generally get better once the holiday season is over and they get back into a normal daily routine.

Remember that the Blues are Short Term
The Holiday Blues are often emotional, intense and upsetting when being experiences.

The good news is that they tend to be short-term, lasting at the most around two weeks.

One way to shorten the holiday blues is to do something nice for someone else and to do things to get you into the holiday spirit.

The Blues end and people generally get better once the holiday season is over and they get back into a normal daily routine.

What do you think about the Holiday Blues?


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