The Holiday Blues are a very real thing. You don’t even have to be diagnosed as clinically depressed to feel down in December. While the holidays are supposed to be the merriest time of the year, there’s a lot going on that can put you in a downward spiral.
There’s end-of-year deadlines at work, unhealthy food galore, stressful family get-togethers, and the obligatory (and sometimes) awkward holiday party. Let’s not forget the stress we may feel trying to make everything Facebook perfect. A lot of us fall prey to that. We see all these unrealistic Facebook perfect families and get-togethers and put immense pressure on ourselves to compete. Not only that, but for those of us that have lost loved ones over the years, their absence seems to be more noticeable during this time of year.
Take all the above, mix it in with a little tinsel and eggnog, and it’s no wonder a lot of people get depressed.
Please know that whatever you are feeling over the holidays is completely valid. And you know what? You’re not alone either. There are many people that feel depressed this time of year, otherwise, it wouldn’t have its own nickname: Holiday Blues.
Combat the Blues
So what can you do about it? The biggest thing that works best for me is to practice self-care. What that looks like is I take time out for me. While it would be great to attend every holiday party, get-together, and mixer, sometimes it’s just impossible. I make time for the ones most important to me and I’m sure to not over-exert myself by being the first person to arrive and last person to leave at said party. Another great way to take care of me is to not over eat and over drink. While it may be tempting to eat and drink in excess while caught up in the holiday cheer, your body won’t exactly like it. If you didn’t know, there are actually a lot of correlations between eating and mental health. Most importantly though is I don’t disrupt my exercise routine. It’s so easy to want to skip my regularly scheduled runs in favor of a Home Alone/Christmas Vacation/Scrooged movie marathon. I don’t though because I know I need to keep my defenses up against depression and running is a piece of my battle armor. So this holiday season, when you’re feeling a little down, just remember you’re not the only one. This time of year is hard for a lot of people. If you need a little pick-me-up, strap on those running shoes and get out there for at least 30 minutes. You don’t have to run the whole time. The important part is you do the best you can. Merry Christmas!