The holiday blues is not just a musical genre it is a group of feelings that impacts many people around this time of year. Despite the commercials and movies filled with singing, happy families, it is common for people to feel sad, anxious, lonely, isolated and depressed.

There is the stress of additional people visiting, and relatives that we may or may not like staying with us. There is also the added political conversations that may increase the tensions. If we are alone and do not wish to be, then there is what can feel like the endless conversations by others about how they are spending their holidays filled with family and friends. We must listen to both the pre and post stories of how wonderful their lives are while we think about eating yet another microwave dinner.

Finally, there may be a sadness we feel because we are grieving over someone who is no longer with us. We desperately want to be happy. We smile for others, buy the gifts and may even decorate but it feels empty because we miss our loved one so much.

 I’m here to tell you, the holidays may be rough but not all is lost. 

holiday stress, Five Steps to help you cope with the Holiday Blues, Perspectives Therapy Services

Below are five steps to help you cope with the Holiday Blues:

  1. Be real with yourself and remember that it may not be a piece of cake but you will get through it. If it was a regular Tuesday, you would get through it. Just because it has the label of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, New Years or whatever it may be, does not mean you should be any harder on yourself.
  2. Do not watch or read or listen to anything that will make you feel worse. For example, do not watch Christmas movies if you are feeling bad about being alone on Christmas. That is like pouring salt into a wound. Instead, watch funny movies that you haven’t seen in awhile. Read books that you have been meaning to get too.
  3. This is the perfect time to take stock of what in your life has been going well and what you want to work on. For instance, you love your dog, or the fact you have kept a plant alive (huge for me). Also think about things that you would like to work on for the next year, getting healthier, getting a dog, or keeping a plant alive (again, more about me).
  4. Have some perspective. Remember everyone no matter how great their lives may appear, everyone is struggling with something. So, don’t compare yourself to others it only hurts yourself and keeps you from being the best you.
  5. If you have lost someone, use this time to grieve them. Be sad that they are not here but also take time to remember them with love and happiness. How would you like to be remembered? With sadness or with joy? Make their favorite recipe even if its gross. Remember the funnest stories you can about them. Write them a letter, letting them know how much you love them.

Remember, this time of year can be a struggle and its okay. You don’t have to pretend that its all glitter and jolly but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Take some steps to find that middle ground. If you need to sleep, then sleep, just not for days. If you need to skip the 20th holiday party, then skip it, just don’t completely isolate yourself. Reach out to others when you need too.  We have therapists on staff to assist you as well.  Find the balance. Take care of yourself. I know you can do it.

We are all connected. Even when we are sitting at home alone on the couch wishing our lives were different, crying for our lost loved ones, or running to Meijer to buy that poor unsuspecting plant that I’m sure I will keep alive this time. We are all in this together. 

Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland, Fenton and New Hudson, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.