Skip to main content

Don’t Let the Holiday Blues Get You Down

Don’t Let the Holiday Blues Get You Down
APA and OPA Offer Tips to Combat the Holiday Blues

City, State, December Date, 2017For many people the holiday season is full of celebrations and cheer but, for some, this season can bring more misery than merriment. With high expectations around gift-giving, decorating, feasting and family gatherings, feelings of disappointment, sadness, fatigue, frustration or being overwhelmed are not unusual.

Psychologists point out that there is a difference between the holiday blues, which are often temporary and go away once the season ends, and more serious conditions such as depression, seasonal affective disorder and anxiety disorders.

“If people are already experiencing stress or sadness in other areas of their life, they may be especially vulnerable to these feelings during the holidays,” Celeste Jones, PsyD, ABPP said. “However, the holidays can be a great opportunity to enhance psychological well-being.”

The American Psychological Association’s 2016 Stress in America survey found that three in 10 Americans say that their stress has increased in the past year and a sizeable proportion (20 percent) reported experiencing extreme stress. However, there are conscious steps people can take to prevent or lessen holiday blues and ensure a worry-free season.  

Oregon Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association offer these tips to combat the holiday blues:

Take time for yourself — There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. But people should remember that they’re only one person and there are only so many hours in a day so it’s important to prioritize. Take care of the activities and traditions that are the most important to you and remember that sometimes self-care is the best thing people can do. Go for a walk, hang out with a friend, watch a movie or take time out to listen to music or read a new book. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries — by slowing down, people will actually have more energy to accomplish their goals.

Volunteer — Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where families can volunteer together and support their community. Not only is giving back a great way to spend time with loved ones during the holidays, but helping others has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall mood.

Have realistic expectations — No holiday celebration is perfect. View inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won’t ruin the holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. If the children’s wish lists are outside the budget, talk to them about the family's finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.

Remember what's important — The barrage of holiday advertising can make people forget what the holiday season is really about. When the holiday expense list is running longer than the monthly budget, scale back and be reminded that what makes a great celebration is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.

Seek support — Talk about the anxiety, stress or sadness with friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help people navigate their feelings and work toward a solution for the holiday blues. If the feelings persist, consider seeing a professional such as a psychologist. They are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how goals can be adjusted so they are attainable as well as help people change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.

To learn more about mind/body health or holiday stress, visit www.apa.org/helpcenter and follow us on Twitter at @APAHelpCenter. To find out more about Oregon Psychological Association visit opa.org and follow us on Twitter at <@OregonPsychEd>.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It’s Never Too Late or Too Early to Start Planning for Retirement

Oregon Psychologists Offer Tips to Save for Retirement
Portland, OR, September 1, 2017— It is never too late, or too early, to start planning for retirement. Many people underestimate how much they can or should be saving, and often postpone saving for retirement because it seems far into the future. Beliefs and attitudes about money are often developed early in life and struggling with financial avoidance or denial can lead to stress and unhealthy behaviors. But money matters are too important to ignore.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) most recent Stress in AmericaTM survey found that 61 percent of Americans reported money as a very or somewhat significant source of stress. Workers can conquer this fear by thinking about what they’re saving for, and planning for how much they will need for living expenses during retirement.
Oregon psychologists offer tips to better save for retirement.
Make saving a priority. If you receive a regular pay check set aside some amount of mo…

Adolescent Development and Risk-Taking in the Columbia River Gorge Forest Fire

An Oregon psychologist's take on psychological and neurocognitive development in adolescence as related to risk-taking behaviors.
Portland, OR, September 15, 2017— In the wake of the Columbia Gorge forest fire this month, Oregonians who have enjoyed the outdoor natural playland are plagued with questions about "How?" and "Why?" this happened. Grief and other emotions run high with the intensity of watching our rest and healing places burn so vigorously. An improved understanding of adolescent neurodevelopment contributes to understanding of the underpinnings of this event. This post seeks to discuss the neuroscience behind risk-taking behaviors in adolescents, reward learning for adolescents, and considerations in parent supervision of adolescents.
Risk-taking in adolescence. Adolescent brain development research tells us that the frontal lobes (those responsible for helping us with planning, organization, and impulse-control) are among the last to reach maturity…

How Does Depression Differ From Occasional Sadness?

October 5 is National Depression Screening Day


Portland, OR, October 1, 2017 — Everyone experiences sadness from time to time, but depression is more than occasional sadness. October 5 is National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), an annual event to raise awareness of the disease and offer screenings for related mood and anxiety disorders.


Next Saturday, October 7, the Out of Darkness Walk is occurring at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR! Join us in raising awareness about depression and suicide.


Depression is characterized by extreme sadness or loss of interest that lasts more than several days. If untreated, depression can have harmful effects on the mind and body. It can cause disruptions to daily life and research shows that it may be linked to various chronic illnesses.


Symptoms of depression can include lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, difficulty or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, problems concentrating, feelings of w…