beat the holiday blues

How to Beat the Holiday Blues | New Traditions in Sobriety

by Pat Fontana

Tis the season to be jolly, unless you’re just not feeling it. Many people experience the holiday blues instead of holiday joy this time of year. If you are one of them, you can learn some ways to beat the holiday blues and form a few new traditions in your sobriety.

What are Holiday Blues?

While others are singing, baking, and wrapping presents, you may just want to sleep and wait for the holidays to be over. You feel sad instead of glad. Your sadness may be related to stress, financial strain, fatigue, not being able to be with your family, or unrealistic expectations. When you have the holiday blues, you may experience headaches, overeating, insomnia, and the desire to use drugs or alcohol.

The COVID Effect

This year, especially, you may be upset about not being able to be with your family or anxious about your financial situation. When you are experiencing this type of stress, your holiday blues can get worse. The uncertainty, isolation, and loss of your normal routine and traditions can have a major effect on your mood during the holidays.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a change of plans for many people. Young adults, especially, who have recently moved out on their own are facing a holiday season without family gatherings. For people who are feeling the loss of normalcy, the holiday blues can plunge them into depression as they feel additional stress on top of an anxiety-filled year.

Staying Healthy

One way to beat the holiday blues is to take care of yourself. This year, the need to stay safe and healthy is even more important. Being away from friends and family members during the holiday can make your blues worse but know that it’s okay to stay home and remain appropriately distanced. Most people across the country are doing the same.

You need to do what’s best for you, including eating healthier foods and getting enough sleep. Try to stay active and take care of your physical health to lessen your fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.

Steps to Beat the Blues

Taking steps to address your fear and stress is particularly important. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends that you should:

  • Be realistic. Realize that you can’t please everyone during the holidays, including finding just the right presents.
  • Stop worrying about how things should be. Don’t compare yourself to others that you might see with perfectly decorated homes or that seem to have perfect families.
  • Focus on your own mental and physical well-being. Even though it is the season of giving, you still need to take care of yourself. Give yourself some downtime, away from the stress of the holidays and the coronavirus. Spend time meditating, doing yoga, or getting some exercise.
  • Give your traditions some extra thought. One of the reasons you may have the holiday blues is because of unrealistic expectations. Think about the things you believe you have to do. Make a list of reasons why you engage in holiday traditions as well as a list of reasons why you shouldn’t. Remember that you have a choice in how you choose to celebrate the holidays.

New Traditions

Making new traditions in your sobriety can help you beat the holiday blues. For example, you can spend some time volunteering to help others. Volunteering can help you feel better about yourself, particularly when you are giving of your time to help those who are not as fortunate as you. Help out at a food bank or volunteer to help distribute gifts to children.

Going outside, getting some fresh air, and exercising can help your mental and your physical health by boosting your mood and lowering your stress. Go for a walk, find a scenic trail for a hike, or ride your bicycle on a new path as part of your new holiday tradition.

Gather with your friends and family virtually. Alternate plans for seeing those close to you could become part of your new traditions. If you have elderly family members who are also alone during the holidays, a Zoom call will be a great way to stay in touch while keeping everyone safe.

Find Help at South Miami Recovery for Help

When you need help for mental health or substance use issues, the professional team at South Miami Recovery offers evidence-based therapies for your recovery. We know that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.