Western Wellness: Managing the holiday blues
Stress and depression can ruin the holidays, especially if you’re not able to go home to see your family. The holiday season is full of parties, shopping, baking and cleaning—something that can be stressful for a lot of people. But don’t let the holiday blues get you down, here are a few ways to minimize the stress or depression you may be feeling.
Acknowledge what you are feeling. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to be happy all of the time. If you feel overwhelmed or upset about not seeing your family, recognize that it is normal to take time to grieve. Express your feelings and let it all out, and then it will be easier to move forward.
Take a break. Just like you need to set aside time to let out your feelings, you also need to make time for yourself. Spending a couple minutes here and there throughout the day can be refreshing. Listen to music or take a walk to clear your mind. These breaks will help motivate you to keep going.
Plan ahead. If you’re someone who has to do a lot of shopping, baking and entertaining, it’s a great idea to make a plan or schedule to stay organized and minimize stress. Plan out which days you will set aside for your responsibilities, make lists for gift and grocery shopping, and don’t be afraid to ask people for assistance.
Budget your spending. Decide how much money you want to spend on gifts, food and entertainment before you go shopping. It’s easy to overspend during the holidays and it will only add to your stress. Remember, money doesn’t buy happiness.
Seek professional help if you need to. If you continue to feel sad and overwhelmed, unable to do routine chores or have sleepless nights, it’s not a bad idea to seek professional help. Talk to a doctor or mental health professional whether you’re visiting home for the holidays or on campus. The student health center is always a great resource.