Holiday blues? Here's How to Lighten Up

December 04, 2015 / Maria Michas, MD, MPH, FACOEM ; Medical Director for Molina Healthcare of Washington

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Ads, movies and Facebook tell us the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. But for some people, it’s the most difficult – especially those dealing with lost relationships or loved ones, family conflicts or loneliness. And the pressure to overspend on gifts plus overindulge in food and drink doesn’t help.

If you feel down, try these ideas to relieve stress and make your holidays cheerier.

1. Spend time with others. Resist any urge to hide from the world. This will only increase feelings of loneliness. Instead, have small get-togethers with family and friends whose company you enjoy.

2. Set limits. Set a realistic budget for gifts and stick to it – think of it as a present to yourself.

3. Be wary of social media. Remember: Most people only post good news. Comparing your real life to someone’s happiest highlights can create bad feelings. Get offline and call a friend to make a real connection.

4. Keep up with healthy habits. Improve your mood and energy: Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise and eat nutritious food while limiting sugar and alcohol intake.

5. Go on an outing or two. A little TV is fine. Too much is depressing. So get outside for a walk or take in a movie with friends. Enjoy yourself!

6. Be there for others. A great way to stop focusing on your own problems is to help someone else with theirs. Know someone who’d like a kind word? Give them a call!

7. Ask for help. If it feels like the blues won’t go away, ask your doctor about counseling. It may be covered by your health plan. And talking to a professional can be a very effective way to work through problems and relieve stress. ​​​

Category: Mental Health / Stress