With the holiday season comes a period of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, for many individuals, the stress of holiday shopping and planning for holiday events, coupled with the drop in temperatures, can attribute to an onset of what is commonly coined “holiday blues”; feelings of depression and frustration. It is especially tough time of the year for single individuals. We are usually bombarded with images of happy couples and families enjoying the holidays and each other’s company. So, understanding the triggers of “holiday blues”, the recommendations for alleviating symptoms and methods of prevention, will work to ensure a more pleasant transition through the holiday season for not only the sufferer – but for the entire family.

What are the Causes?

Exhaustion, financial stress, time constraints, and loneliness leave many individuals suffering through the holiday season and afflicted with a condition known as the “holiday blues“. Often symptoms of holiday blues will exhibit as crying, sadness, excessive sleeping, insomnia, nervousness and agitation. Many patients are unable to identify the cause and origin of this sudden onset of symptoms so it is imperative that family and friends, close to the sufferer, assist in alleviating the symptoms as best as possible.

Getting Back on Track

Recommendations for alleviating holiday blues often include a variety of stress relief programs including time management to relaxation techniques. The key to avoiding “holiday blues” is to simply work to manage one day at a time. Do not try to manage multiple events in one day nor events over multiple consecutive days. Participating in a volunteer program is an optimal method for relieving stress, giving back to the community and provides for an escape from family functions and pre-scheduled party events which often leave individuals more fatigued and depressed. No one should feel down during the holidays, so be sure to offer a helping hand when needed.

Forget About the Past

Additionally, sufferers of the “holiday blues” should avoid reflecting on the past year and, instead, focus on developing personal New Year’s Resolutions. It can be a massive burden for many of us. Unable to change the past but empowering oneself to change the future should be the focus of the period from November 1st through December 31st of each calendar year. Too often, “holiday blues” sufferers fail to examine and establish goals during this two month period and, instead, focus on the events of the past year resulting in an even more advanced development of depression. With the focus on a new year, depression and sadness, associated with the holiday season, is often alleviated with the new found adventure in the future goals (ie. finishing current college essay or a project etc).

Remember the Important Things in Life

This holiday season, remember what is important in life. To ensure the optimal mental health, focus on inner strength and develop a strategic plan to improve your own life before focusing on that of other individuals. With the fury of holiday shopping, and the onset of “holiday blues”, avoiding congested and overly active shopping areas while managing time with family and friends conservatively, will ensure a more pleasant transition, mentally, through the New Year.