The Jakarta Post
Experiencing a loss, breakup, or something as simple as everyone being too busy with their own work or other plans to spend time with you could potentially put a damper on one’s holiday mood. (Shutterstock/File)
Working out, eating healthy, staying on time, sleeping enough, keeping spending low and living up to holiday expectations can all get thrown out the window once the holidays kick in, especially around the Christmas time of year.
It can be more stressful than enjoyable for some, and some might even feel that they are missing out on the magic of the season that everyone else seems to be enjoying.
“The expectation is often that everyone is coupled up happily, families are laughing and having fun together, and everyone can afford to buy whatever gifts they want,” said clinical psychologist Sari Chait from Boston.
According to Men’s Health, anyone can suffer the holiday blues, be it due to individual circumstance, or because one just cannot seem to catch a break this year. Stress is only the beginning, as exhaustion, a packed holiday schedule and many other factors can ruin a possibly fun holiday.
“The holidays can also be a sad reminder of the family and friends who are no longer with us or the friends and family we never had and never will have,” said psychologist and owner of Harborside Wellbeing in North Carolina, United States, Beatrice Tauber Prior.
Experiencing a loss, breakup or something as simple as everyone being too busy with their own work or other plans to spend time with you could potentially put a damper on one’s holiday mood.
“There are often very high expectations for a happy, picture-perfect holiday season,” Chait said, adding that when the expectations are not met, it can cause one to become disillusioned with the cheerful facade of holiday cheer.
However, there are ways to overcome or at least manage the different kind of blues that are not just experienced on Mondays.
1. Be kind to someone
“Contributing to others can not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it also might just make you feel a bit better,” said Nicole Issa, cofounder of the Center for Dynamic and Behavioral Therapy in New York City.
Breaking from routine and trying something different for the sake of a stranger or for charity could give one a new perspective on the holidays. There are plenty of people to help in the world, especially during the holidays.
2. Do the inviting
“Neuroscientists have shown that proactivity works because it helps the brain make connections between all the moving parts of the day to come up with a streamlined game plan," said Tauber Prior.
This can also help reduce possible anxiety, which gives you more of a sense of control over what you get to do and do not have to do over the holidays.
Meanwhile, Chait said that having the option to skip out on a rather large or slightly crowded group gathering of family or friends could help alleviate your mood if you are really not up for it. Though Chait also stressed that meeting them could also unexpectedly improve your mood.
“Be the one to do the inviting,” added Tauber Prior.
3. Get off social media
“Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides,” said the author and doctor John Sharp.
Social media can make you think that you are the only one not having a good time, holiday season or not.
Seeing your friends traveling could make you feel like you are not living enough, which can turn into a cycle of self-imposed negativity, said Chait, recommending that meeting up or making plans to meet with a friend or relative in real life will help alleviate the feeling of missing out.
“A person’s feeling of well-being increases once they reconnect with others face-to-face,” added Tauber Prior.
4. Set a New Year goal
According to Sharp, setting a goal that is focused on fitness, health or nutrition, such as cooking, trying a new type of exercise that you never thought you could do, can actually help in times of stress, even when it is not the holidays. Accomplishing new tasks and learning new skills or improving on something you think you could get better at will instill a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“If you sample adults, it turns out there’s [only] a small percentage of people who love the holidays,” said Sharp. “Most people find them stressful.” (acr/kes)
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