Getting Through the Holiday Blues

Stressed? Sad? Fatigued? Haunted? Sure, it may be about school, exams, and the cold dark weather – but there may be other elements contributing to your mood. They’re called “The Holiday Blues,” and if you’re experiencing them, you’re not alone – you’re in company with over two-thirds of the population.

The reality is: the winter holidays can bring up lots of complicated, difficult feelings for people (even if you’re not celebrating them).  Participating in and even witnessing seasonal celebrations can bring up feelings of loss, loneliness, anger, grief, and much more. Combine that with finals, heading home for three weeks, and a cold you’ve been fighting for three days, and it’s no wonder that so many of us see a dip in our mental health.

We’ve collected a number of short articles below with tips for moving through and healing from some of the hardship that can come with the holidays. Please take care of yourselves and each other this season.

Beat Back the Holiday Blues
“How do I know if I have the holiday blues? Shouldn’t I be happy right now?” NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) addresses these questions and describes what it can be like to experience these feelings at this time of year. It comes with some good tips – and a reminder to watch out for the differences between the holiday blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Ten Keys to Creating Healthy Holidays
Sit down with a friend and go over this list together. Talk it out, or journal about it. You’ll find you’re a lot more able to handle those tricky feelings when you know why they’re happening, you can predict when they’ll come up, and you can re-adjust your perspective.

Five Things to Do When the Holidays Aren’t Exactly Uplifting
Read this, then add it to your bookmarks so you can read it again over the break. These are little reminders about boundaries you can set to protect yourself and your mental health during the seasonal shindigs.

Holiday Depression and Stress
This article addresses Seasonal Affective Disorder, creating a safety-net for yourself, coping with stress and depression while it’s actually happening, and even includes a “Holiday Bill of Rights” which you should probably keep in your phone notes for the occasional review! There are also some links to other resources that can help.