The holiday season is often considered a joyful time filled with family, friends, and good food; it can be a time to recharge and reconnect with loved ones. But for many, the holiday season is also one that can be very stressful as there may be high emotional or financial demands and family obligations we are expected to meet. This is also a time that may serve as a reminder of those that we have lost.
During this time, if you notice feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, lack of energy, changes in sleep patterns, or a desire to isolate, you may be experiencing the holiday blues. These are symptoms of depression that may be amplified by the holiday season especially if there are underlying mental health concerns.
Below are some suggestions to consider when navigating this challenging time:
1. Check-in with yourself: Notice how you are feeling and if there have been any shifts in your mood around the holidays. Building an awareness of our baseline mental health is important in order to identify how our mind and body may be communicating with us if something has changed.
2. Set realistic expectations: Show yourself kindness, understanding, and non-judgement. Recognize that this season has its inherent challenges and offering ourselves grace improves our wellbeing by alleviating the stress of high expectations.
3. Share how you are feeling: There may be a tendency to isolate when we are having an emotionally challenging experience. Consider connecting with others that you trust to share how you are feeling. Knowing that we are supported can bring comfort and combat loneliness.
4. Create healthy boundaries: Practice honouring your body’s needs. Notice if you are saying yes to invitations more than you would like to and remember it is okay to say “no”. Setting healthy boundaries by communicating with others is how we can respect our own capacity and maintain relationships that are important to us.
5. Develop new traditions: The holidays can intensify grief around loved one’s passing. Making new holiday traditions that honour our loved ones can be supportive to move through the grief and create new memories associated with positive emotions.
6. Practice gratitude: When we are feeling low, we may notice that our thoughts often become negative and critical. Considering the elements and people in life that we are grateful for can be a helpful reminder of the parts of life that are meaningful to us and support an improvement in our mood.
If you notice that you are experiencing some symptoms of depression after the holidays, this may be an indication that you would benefit from further discussion with your doctor; our clinic offers support for depression, anxiety and skills to navigate life’s challenges. To learn more, click here.
Interested in a winter walk and learning how dance can help?
Join Anne, BFHT Physiotherapist, as part of our Just Walk Series, on
Monday, December 18th, 2023 from 10:00-11:00am at the Burlington Central Library.