Ladies Sing the Holiday Blues

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Tips for emotionally surviving the holiday season

Tips for emotionally surviving the holiday season

The holiday season can be a difficult time for many individuals, but there is hope in finding joy even when it feels like you have nothing left.

For many women, the holidays are a time of stress, anxiety and depression—also known as the “Holiday Blues.” Women are more susceptible to develop the blues than men because women already have higher rates of depression. Additionally, women tend to have the burden of planning, cooking and shopping during the holidays. It is overwhelming—fighting traffic, long lines everywhere, parking, parties, gifts, the post office, traveling, the delicious but unhealthy foods, charity and even family conflicts. So, if you are a lady singing the holiday blues, here are some tips on how to change your tune.

Be thankful, and focus on the positive: Women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect and acquire material things. But when they fall short, it is a devastating blow to the ego. Find opportunities to be grateful for the good people in your life, appreciate your abilities, and be thankful for all that you are and all that you have. Remember, as bad as you think your situation is, it could be worse. Spread positivity to those around you, and you will receive it back. Try volunteering to help those less fortunate—it is a great way to gain perspective and feel better about yourself.

Manage expectations: Be realistic and honest about your budget, time and mood. Don’t let shame or fear of disappointing others put you in debt financially or emotionally. Plan ahead so you can have an attainable schedule. Learn to say, “No.” This doesn’t make you a mean person; it’s just a good way to set healthy boundaries that will protect you from unnecessary stress. Get creative! Make your presents instead of buying traditional gifts.

Feel how you feel: “’Tis the season to be merry,” but maybe you don’t feel so jingle bell-ish, and that is fine. While you don’t want be the Grinch, you don’t have to gift wrap a fake smile on your face. Often, the holidays trigger bad memories and remind us of what we’ve lost or miss. Take time to reflect on how you feel, and understand that there is no wrong way to feel. To combat the blues, rest often, exercise regularly, eat well, and talk about your feelings with someone you trust.

Find a support system: You are not alone! Reach out to loved ones, even if you can’t physically be there. Seek out support groups, join an activity or social group, volunteer, and use technology to bring your loved ones closer. If your blues are persistent and/or increase in intensity, seek professional help from a mental health professional.

Tricia Antonio Smith is a licensed clinical social worker who has been providing therapeutic social services to varying and diverse populations in South Florida for more than 15 years. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in social work, Tricia founded TGA Counseling and Social Services, LLC in 2010. Her practice focuses on treating individuals, couples, and families struggling with a variety of issues, including: relationship conflicts/dating coaching, parenting dilemmas, depression, anxiety, work/life balance, divorce/premarital counseling, and blending families.

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