Post Holiday Blues: Tips to Help Curb Mental Health During the Holidays

Post Holiday Blues

The holiday season is arriving right around the corner alongside celebrations, gift exchanges, surprises, joyful family get-togethers and much more. For many people, this may not be “the most wonderful time of the year”. Rather, it is the time to face the challenges of holiday blues and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Especially, in the current state of the world, it can be tough to travel for the holidays and financial struggles and businesses losses are especially high this year. The pandemic has greatly changed our society. Everyone’s lives have been affected and it is has been a crazy roller coaster of emotions as we constantly deal with the rapidly evolving pandemic. Take care of yourself this year by using the CareClinic app to help manage your mental health during post holiday blues.

What are the post holiday blues? 

Post holiday blues is a mood that individuals experience upon returning home after long breaks and vacations. Many people believe it to be a normal feeling to experience after the holiday season. Trips that are longer in duration and for those who experience more memorable moments during the holidays experience more intense post-holiday blues. This can significantly impact a person’s mental health (R).  People start to compare their regular lives to the holiday season and realize their lifestyle is boring, normal, and unsatisfying to their needs. Studies show that having a shorter holiday trip makes it easier to overcome the post-holiday blues and makes it easier to adjust back to a normal routine.

The holiday season can consist of different activities for many different people. Some people consider it to be partying, planning, baking, drinking, gift-giving, and a lot more. Usually, this can bring unwanted stress for people who are already dealing with mental health issues every day. It is important to remember that holiday blues are short term. Be patient. Take things week by week or day by day.

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What causes post holiday blues?

The causes of post-holiday blues can manifest differently for anyone and could be possibly be undetermined. Holiday sadness is truly a personal feeling. In the upcoming weeks, many people are busy with Christmas shopping, gifting wrapping, parties, family reunions and having house guests which all come with added stress and pressure. Many people do not realize balancing all the holiday plans can contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. While some people experience holiday blues during the holidays, others could experience post-holiday blues after New Years, due to high expectations and disappointments from the previous year. Typical causes of post holiday blues include:

  • Stress
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Financial stress
  • Inability to be with one’s family and friends
  • Exhaustion
  • Not being able to go home for the holidays
  • Poor social support, isolation, and loneliness
  • Family problems, particularly if you don’t get along

As animals change their mood in essence with the changing seasons and weather patterns, people tend to change their behaviors as well; especially when there is less sunlight. Researchers found that it is normal for people to eat and sleep a lot more in the wintertime and feel aversion to shorter days and dark mornings. The holiday season can relate to the same changes for some people as they suffer from seasonal affective disorder which can also lead to post holiday blues. (R)

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What are the symptoms of post holiday depression?

Depression is one the leading mental health concern for many people. Although holidays are a time of joy and celebration it can leave many people feeling lonely, sad, and tired. It is okay to feel this way but knowing that you can reach out for help will improve your mental health and your well being to avoid the symptoms of post holiday blues. Some symptoms of post holiday depression may result from:

  • Feelings of nostalgia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Feeling of loneliness
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Lack of pleasure in normal activities
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Excessive drinking
  • Poor sleep
  • Over-eating

Even when individuals try to participate in things they would normally enjoy, people with the holiday blues have trouble enjoying themselves. They are more concerned about other people, activities, social events, gift-giving, and the holiday itself.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of post holiday depression can turn anyone from feeling jolly holiday vibes to feeling unhealthy, sad and stressed. Excessive drinking, overeating, and poor sleep are some of the prominent symptoms of the holiday blues. (R)

How do the holidays affect mental health conditions?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 5 adults will suffer from mental illness each year. (R)

The holidays are an exciting time to gather with your loved ones and take the much-needed vacations and breaks you deserve. But in some cases, many people can feel sad when they do not have this opportunity. This sadness can turn into depression where your holidays can be completely ruined or result in post-holiday blues. A lot of people should realize that it is okay to feel sad during this time whether it is a result of known or unknown reasons. Many people develop a lot of grief, sadness, and shame due to holiday celebrations. Holiday media, advertisements, and promotions can further trigger feelings of sadness and impact mental health conditions.

Relationship difficulties

Mentally, the holiday season brings about a bundle of feelings and emotions. People can be filled with thoughts that can be overwhelming, sad, and hopeless when they feel loneliness. Knowing that you are surrounded by people can be an important factor to support your feelings and emotions. Many people think asking for help must be from family or relatives, but the important factor is to reach out for help, no matter who it is. It can be any person who is willing to give you a hundred percent support for your mental health. This could be friends, coworkers, support groups or health professionals.

On the other hand, meeting with loved ones and gathering with families can bring about added pressure. Conflicts with family and friends can often occur at family reunions. It is important to try to keep in mind that holiday gatherings are just temporary and will soon be over.  Several people who go through the holidays with mental health troubles are tightened by their own thought process that leads to overthinking, anxiety, stress and more.

Holiday Depression

Surprisingly, the holiday blues is not an officially recognized psychiatric condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This condition usually takes begins in the fall or winter when it gets colder and there is less sunlight. Although, it may not be recognized as a psychiatric condition, the symptoms of holiday blues can lead to feelings of depression. Depression is a serious mental health condition that you should be of concern. Understanding the duration and severity can have a huge impact towards your mental health and overall lifestyle.

Ideas to help cope with post-holiday depression

For those who are experiencing depression after every holiday season, let us change that! From now on, start taking care of yourself by preparing and planning on how to beat post holiday depression. Many people need to leave “yesteryear” in the past and move forward into the future, where life can bring new changes with each season. While sometimes there could be no possible reasons for feeling the holiday blues, below are some suggestions on ways to prepare and help to cope with post holiday depression: (R)

  • Focus on the good and what really matters
  • Get enough sleep
  • Make exercise a priority
  • Cut back on commitments
  • Have healthy meal plan
  • Try something new, Ex. Volunteering
  • Forget the past
  • Acknowledge your feelings
  • Learn to say no
  • Take a breather
  • Limit media consumption
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help
  • Do not binge on food or alcohol
  • Drop expectations

Planning Ahead

Many people do not realize small opportunities can make a huge difference in your mental health. During the holiday season, we often get busy, cluttered and deal with a number of different year-ending problems. Some people are educated about the symptoms of post-holiday blues while others are completely oblivious to the symptoms. The first step to dealing with the blues is acknowledging the symptoms. Making plans in advance can be a crucial part of avoiding post holiday depression.

Have Realistic Expectations

People need to understand that all the hype of the holiday season isn’t always joyful and smooth. Anything can happen and it is important to be flexible. Dr.Pedrelli stated during the holidays people tend to overestimate how happy others are because of images seen on TV commercials and common topic of conversations (R). Although, all the smiles shown through advertisements, holiday promotions or the spirit for the holiday season, people tend to think you should always be happy and upbeat during the holidays because everyone is feeling the same way. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Everyone goes through some type of difficulty during holidays and it does not mean you have to force yourself to be happy. It is important to know what is real and what triggers the feelings of depression in you.

To do this, you must find ways to block holiday messages or any other situations, depending on how much it affects you. Even just reminding yourself that there are many other people who are also struggling with mental health conditions.

Balance Change with Tradition

The most fascinating part of the holiday season are the traditions. For example, your favorite meals since childhood, old decorations that could bring up memories, and gathering at a particular relative’s home. Traditions bring people and memories together. It helps maintain family ties and links our lives of today to the holiday celebrations from when we were young.

For some reason people tend to do things every holiday season that fills themselves with symptoms of depression or other health related issues. Some holiday plans do not always go the way you want. There needs to be change. If hosting Christmas dinner for the entire family has become too much, you need to talk to a close relative or someone that will understand about changing who is in charge.

If you are dealing with a loss, it can be a lot harder for you to be able to enjoy the holiday season. You may feel lonelier and sadder as the holidays come closer or at the end of the season when family returns home. In a case like this, it is important to create new habits and not to feel ashamed or guilty. The first decision of change will give you new tradition to move forward and cherish every moment of your well being.

Don’t Isolate yourself – Reach Out for Help

During the holiday season many people get together with friends or family members. If you do not have anyone to spend time with during the holidays or do not feel comfortable talking about your feelings, consider seeing a mental health professional. This can be overwhelming to a lot of people and could possibly push them away from seeking help.

You do not have to start with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Simply a local community center around your neighborhood or a health clinic may have mental health services available. The most important thing is to share your feelings with someone who can understand and help you sort them out.

The secret to happier holidays

Take control of your holidays

Our goal is to make sure that no one is alone out there. Yes, the holidays can be a stressful time for many people and feel the extra pressure from our busy lives. One of the best things people can do to help themselves is to implement self-care habits into their lifestyle.

Give yourself the gift of self-care. (R)

Some people could have a hard time avoiding holiday depression, but you do not have to let it control you. By accepting what is going on with your body and mind, you can simply control and exercise to help ease depression. This will help you protect your mental health, especially to avoid post holiday depression. A lot of people start to panic and start to lose control of themselves which leads to a lot of other mental health conditions. Instead of focusing on others and the purpose behind the holiday celebration, take break and give yourself the gift of self-care.

The curb to post holiday depression

Post holiday depression is much more than just a mood or a feeling. It is a disorder that medically affects your brain’s ability to work properly. Keeping track of your mental health does not only have to be during holidays or afterwards. It can help you at any given time or for other health-related issues. There is a lot of young people who are going through mixed feelings and are not able to speak their feelings for numerous reasons.

Meet your holiday survival kit, the CareClinic app is a well-versed application that is designed to change and improve a person’s lifestyle. The app is free to use and includes several exciting features. Not only does it allow you to track your mental health, but there are also other features that can add-on to increase your overall mental health such as a nutrition guide, body goals, mindset exercises, and much more!

It is always important to have a buddy by your side. If you are thinking about family, people, and others. You’re wrong! The CareClinic app can be used as your holiday buddy or just an app that’s allows to understand your feelings, thoughts, and goals on bettering yourself as a individual.

Supporting post holiday depression

Recurring holiday blue episodes may be of concern to many. CareClinic can collect and revise your information in logs and charts to provide a better perspective on your mental health. The app is available 24/7 for you to access your charts, tracker, and CarePlans for any given situation. The more information you provide, the better personalized feedback you will receive.

Using a symptom tracker app to monitor post holiday blues

Have you ever tracked your mental health?

Being able to let go of your emotions, feelings and thoughts can unload a lot of stress, anxiety, and sadness. CareClinic includes a symptom tracker to organize your thought process, evaluate your emotions, and help you decide on creating a plan.

Once you start entering the information and tracking your mental health. The app would provide an accurate diagnose on ways to treat your problems. By setting a nutrition plan, you can get started on beating holiday depression by implementing a healthy diet and having a routine for daily exercise.

Why a symptom tracker can help to track your mental health and post-holiday blues?

  • Track the recurrence of symptoms
  • Privacy and personalize your data: Having your information secured and synced safely
  • Focusing on yourself and avoiding unnecessary distractions
  • Accessibility of viewing your symptoms in one profile
  • Understanding the symptom levels to control your symptoms overtime

This can help you to feel good knowing your information is stored safely and be only accessed only by you. By monitoring your symptoms, you have full control of yourself and know what you are feeling throughout the day. The data of the symptom tracker can help you to realize how these symptoms are affecting your daily routine and be able to decide on changing those feelings to a positive outcome.

Monitor stress

Post holiday blues are a temporary feeling of depression during the holidays that can be associated with extra stress and other symptoms. Many people do not realize that short-term problems must be taken seriously because it can lead to long-term mental health conditions. Stress can build up overtime with disorganized holiday plans, family situations, and loneliness.

A study shown the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 90% of youth suicide victims have at least one major mental health disorder. Being able to track, report, and reflect on stress levels can help to prevent depression which could also lead to suicidal thoughts (R).

Therapy sessions

Whether the holiday blues are short-term or long term, CareClinic can provide different types of therapy sessions where you can plan and boost your well being. For example, mindfulness meditation, cold showers, yoga of sound breath, single nostril breath and many more. These therapy exercises can be done on your time and also to track your progress This can help to increase improvement for any mental health conditions.

Log entries

Log entries include headaches, sleep problems, tiredness, change in weight, stomach pain, vision problems, backaches, and lack of interest. Users can use the symptom tracker to log notes to monitor these symptoms.

Follow your medication and supplements

If your health providers prescribed you medications or supplements to help relieve the symptoms, once you have started the medication or supplements, the users could use the app to follow and track their changes.

We care

Remember you are not alone. The CareClinic app is the holiday self-care package for this year with great features and benefits for yourself, family, and friends. It integrates perfectly for health professionals to connect with their patients and provide feedback on how you are doing. It is simple interface for anyone to use and we simplify everything together to better understand your health and behavior.

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Dharusan Sivanandarajah