Holiday Blues: Navigating the Season with Mental Health in Mind

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women walking on a winter day


The holiday season can be a joyful time, but it can also bring its own set of challenges. Don’t let the Holiday Blues get the best of you. Here are some practical tips to help you take care of your mental health during this special time.

Brighten Your Days

  1. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care with activities you love. Whether it’s a warm bath, a good book, or a walk in nature, make time for yourself. Don’t forget to treat yourself with kindness and self-compassion.
  2. Stay Active: Physical activity can boost your mood. Go for a winter walk or try some indoor workouts to stay energized.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations: Perfect holidays don’t exist. Focus on creating meaningful moments rather than on material things or a picture-perfect meal.
  4. Stay Connected: Spend time with loved ones. Social interactions, even virtual ones, can be a great source of joy. If you can’t be with family or friends, consider joining local community events or volunteering.

Nourish Your Spirit

  1. Eat Well: Indulge, but don’t overindulge. Enjoy holiday treats in moderation and maintain a balanced diet.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water is vital for your well-being. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
  3. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude: Embrace mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress and stay present in the moment. Each day, jot down three things you’re grateful for. These simple exercises can help shift your focus to the positive.
  4. Sleep Well: Prioritize sleep. A well-rested mind is better equipped to handle holiday challenges.

Organize Tasks and Activities

  1. Plan Ahead: Create a holiday schedule to avoid last-minute stress. Set achievable goals.
  2. Limit Financial Stress: Create a realistic budget and stick to it. Consider DIY gifts or experiences that don’t break the bank. It is truly the thought that counts.
  3. Delegate: You don’t have to do it all. Delegate tasks and share responsibilities with loved ones.
  4. Give Back: The holidays are a perfect time to volunteer and help others. It can be incredibly rewarding.

Connect and Communicate

  1. Unplug from Social Media: Take breaks from your screens and enjoy real-life moments. Also: it is too easy to compare your holiday experience to others on social media. Remember, those pictures only show a fraction of reality.
  2. Reach Out: Don’t hesitate to lean on your support system. Share your feelings and concerns with friends or family. Additionally, for those in recovery, remember that the holidays can be uniquely challenging. Stay connected to your support network, attend meetings if you can, and have a sponsor or friend on standby. You’ve come a long way; don’t let the holiday season undermine your progress.
  3. Set Boundaries: Set boundaries with toxic relationships or situations that drain your energy.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If your holiday blues persist, don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional. Call the Clackamas Crisis and Support Line at 503-655-8585 if you want to talk, anytime, day or night.

Fun Activities for this Holiday Season

  • DIY Decorations: Create your own holiday decorations. Try making paper snowflakes, garlands, or ornaments to add a personal touch to your home.
  • Holiday Lights Tour: Take a drive or walk around your community to admire the festive holiday lights and decorations.
  • Holiday Storytelling: Gather around a cozy fire or even just some warm drinks and take turns sharing holiday stories or memories.
  • Card Making: Design and create your own holiday cards to send to loved ones. It’s a personal and thoughtful gesture.
  • Holiday Photo Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of holiday-themed items or scenes, and then go on a photo scavenger hunt with friends or family to capture them.

The Holiday Blues can affect any of us. Remember that small, heartfelt gestures and meaningful connections often outshine costly gifts. Embrace the joy of the season, share love and laughter, but also make time for self-care and seeking support when needed.

Consider this: You’re worth the effort. Your mental health is precious. You deserve a happy and healthy holiday season!

Emergency Helplines

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please reach out for help.

  • Clackamas Crisis and Support Line: 503-655-8585 or 1-888-414-1553
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 or 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor
  • Senior Loneliness Line: 503-200-1633 or 1-800-282-7035