The holiday season is a whirlwind of activities, holiday cheer and sometimes drama. It is a busy season of hustle and bustle in a hurry to fit in many things before the holidays come and go. What may have been intended as a time of rest to reflect on the season goes by in a flash of distraction and unmet expectations. Learn how to cope with holiday blues and depression with practical tips to escape the frenzy and feel more joy.
Why it Happens
Several reasons exist for why people experience holiday blues. Mild depression (“the blues”) occur for many reasons. Parties, family gatherings and other situations may cause more stress for an individual in recovery. Drinking is at an all time high at parties and work events or stress at work to meet deadlines may cause a person to want to use or fall back into destructive addiction patterns. Relapse rates rise with stress levels. Shorter days and colder weather in winter may be a recipe for holiday blues.
Tips to Beat The Blues
The holiday season will come and go whether people like it or not. The key is to focus on what an individual can change about circumstances to bring about positive energy and focus on recovery and health to avoid getting drawn into the trap of holiday mayhem.
People often feel over-extended throughout the holidays. Adequate sleep can do so much for mood and outlook on life.
Helpful hint: reestablish regular sleeping patterns as much as possible during and after holidays to regain a sense of calm for the body and mind.
Mulling over an argument or past regrets at the holidays is not uncommon. Overindulgence of hashing out disappointments and hurts is common. People and circumstances will never fully meet expectations. It takes time to work through resentment and make necessary amends.
Helpful hint: seek forgiveness and extend grace to self and others to reduce anxiety and depression over unmet expectations.
The temptation to hole up in pajamas with TV, a drink, food or other vice can lead down the rabbit hole towards relapse.
Helpful hint: make plans with friends, get out to a sober event and reach out to others for support.
Gratitude and humility go a long way to developing good character in recovery but also beats the blues away by giving back to people in need.
Helpful hint: serve at a meeting, go to church or find somewhere in the community to give back for a mental health boost (may also result in making some social connections which also boosts spirits).
Maintain Recovery Schedule
The one thing to go when people get busy are recovery meetings. Catching a meeting will help avoid relapse when things get tough.
Helpful hint: pick up the phone, reestablish connections, meet with others to stay accountable to meeting and activities.
The holidays are especially stressful for people in early recovery but it is difficult at any time. The seasons of life bring challenges but if you are struggling with depressive symptoms or the blues, help is available. Call us to find out how we can help you seek positive activities to beat the blues this winter.