Home / Holiday Blues: Managing Your Mental Health During the Holidays
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Nov 13, 2023

Holiday Blues: Managing Your Mental Health During the Holidays

The holidays are typically portrayed as joyous times full of celebrations, laughter, and connecting with loved ones. But not everyone experiences the holidays in this way. Countless individuals in the U.S. and abroad experience the “holiday blues,” which can make the season a very challenging time of year.

What Are the Holiday Blues?

The holiday blues are defined as temporary feelings of anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness, and other negative emotions. Many individuals with already diagnosed mental illnesses are affected by the holiday blues as their normal symptoms worsen during this time of year, but even those without regularly occurring mental health challenges can experience the holiday blues.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health problem, please contact our behavioral health department. We have locations located in San Diego and Riverside counties, such as Encinitas, Oceanside, Perris, and San Marcos.

If you are having an immediate personal crisis, CALL A NATIONAL HELP LINE HERE

What Are Some of the Signs and Symptoms?

The holiday blues can affect anyone. Those with a mental illness, those who have experienced loss or trauma, and those prone to stress are more likely to struggle with mental health challenges during the holidays.
Symptoms include:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Tension
  • Frustration
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Sense of loss
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Hopelessness
  • Overwhelming stress

The holidays can bring about painful memories or an acute awareness of a loss you’ve experienced, which are both catalysts for the holiday blues.

Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues

Mental illness is very serious, so any feelings of anxiety, depression, or overwhelming emotion should be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately. Even if your feelings are temporary, it’s best to stay on top of your mental health to ensure you remain emotionally and physically healthy long-term.

If you’re struggling with the holiday blues, here are some tips for managing your mental health this holiday season:

Recognize the holiday blues for what they are.

The holiday blues are temporary feelings. They do not dictate your present-day nor determine your future. Your feelings cannot control you, and they don’t get to determine how much or how little you enjoy yourself this holiday season.

Take time for yourself.

It can be easy to get caught up in non-stop parties, traveling to see family, and countless holiday-related events. But if you are easily overwhelmed in large groups of people or if you get burned out quickly when you’re around others, you need to make sure you are taking time for yourself. Be sure to take care of yourself and set limits and boundaries with spending time with others.

At the same time, don’t isolate yourself. Plan times to get together with friends or family and just enjoy each other’s company, and make sure you’re spending time with positive, caring people who have your best interest at heart. Staying active and spending time in the sun are also great ways to take care of yourself and boost your mood this holiday season.

Click Here for a link to 13 texts to send when you want or need some personal space.

Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.

Unrealistic expectations are a huge contributing factor to the holiday blues, so don’t get out of control with your planning and the expectations you place on others. Be realistic about how much time you can and will spend with others, how much money you’re going to spend on gifts, and how much time you’re going to spend by yourself resting and recharging. Overextending yourself or failing to live up to your own expectations are big catalysts for feelings of dissatisfaction and sadness.

Click Here to learn why saying no is not selfish.

Don’t overindulge.

The holidays are full of delicious treats and yummy foods, and there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in alcoholic beverages as well. Overindulging can lead to feelings of sluggishness and fatigue, as well as feelings of guilt and shame. Be patient and realistic with yourself. Don’t eliminate the opportunity to indulge, just be sure to limit what you’re consuming and be sure to eat holiday foods and drink alcohol in moderation.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Face negative feelings in a healthy way.

If you’re dealing with loss, loneliness, or isolation this holiday season, do your best to face those things in the healthiest way possible. This may mean talk therapy or sharing your thoughts with a close friend or family member. Acknowledge the struggle that you’re facing and do your best to create new, positive memories this holiday season to associate happier feelings with the holidays.

Conversation Tip: “Can we talk? I have had some feelings that I need to discuss with someone.”

Don’t overcommit.

This goes along the same line as setting realistic expectations. Don’t try to pack too much into your schedule when you know you won’t be able to handle it all. Be selective in the plans you commit to, and be sure to stick to your normal routine as much as you can. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, as exhaustion can bring about a slew of unwelcomed negative feelings and poor decision making. Additionally, don’t overcommit financially, as that will just add stress to your life. Don’t spend too much money on gifts for everyone, and don’t commit to attending too many expensive holiday events. The more you limit your spending, the better off you’ll be both during the holidays and afterward.

Stay positive.

It can be hard to stay positive when life is hard and you’re struggling with mental health. The holidays are typically a time to look back on the previous year, so try to do so positively. Acknowledge the changes that have occurred in the last year, whether positive or negative, and try to have an optimistic outlook on what you’ve accomplished and what you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. Don’t allow yourself to stay in a negative mindset and focus only on shortcomings and unmet expectations, but give yourself credit for the positive changes that have occurred and do your best to look at the upcoming year with hope, optimism, and excitement.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health problem, please contact TrueCare’s behavioral health department. We have locations located in San Diego and Riverside counties, such as Encinitas, Oceanside, Perris, and San Marcos.

TrueCare behavioral health clinics provide a welcoming place where you can feel safe, respected and valued while receiving the treatment you need. Our compassionate behavioral health specialists help you understand your condition and the available treatment options. Our primary goal is improving your mental and physical well-being so you can become the person you want to be.

One out of five Americans experience a mental health crisis at some point in their lives. Please don’t delay getting the care you need.

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If you are having an immediate personal crisis, CALL A NATIONAL HELP LINE HERE


The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this website.

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Jessica L. Randalls, PA
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