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9 Ways to Kick the Holiday Blues

The holidays can be tough for many people- from the stresses of travel, gift giving, and family drama, this time of year isn’t always cheery and bright. Below is a list of ways to help kick the holiday blues and help you keep a positive mindset into the New Year.

1. Learn to Say No
The holidays are notorious for spreading you thin. Finances can feel stretched, and you may feel the pressure to accept every invitation to a social gathering that you receive. Make sure that you leave time to recharge, and do not forgo that time for another engagement. It’s ok to tell people that you are unable to attend, and a true friend will understand that your mental health comes first!

2. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
With lots of social engagements, comes lots of chances to consume alcohol, as well as overindulge. Alcohol is a depressant, and can magnify any feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety. Limit yourself to a drink or two per outing to limit the aftereffects of consumption as well as help avoid the next day hangovers!

3. Be Open to New Traditions
By always reflecting on what you think the holidays “should” be, try to be open to starting new traditions or activities. The pandemic brought lots of change to peoples holidays last year and will continue to do so this year. Go with the flow and embrace a new holiday season.

4. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Though holiday travel is expensive and tough, try and spend time with loved ones this season. You do not have to fly or drive across the country to get in time with someone that you care about. If you are unable to travel, set up phone calls or video dates with your family and friends.

5. Get Enough Sleep
Being well rested can improve your mood, give you energy, and help fight depression. I know it will be tempting to stay out late regularly but try to commit to a bedtime and get your 8 hours each night for a happier and brighter morning!

6. Don’t Overeat
Those big holiday meals and party snacks can be tempting but try your best to stay on track this holiday season. Fill up on fruit and veggies before you head to a party or add in a salad at lunch if you know you will be having a large holiday meal later. Overeating can make you feel sluggish and affect your over-all mood.

7. Get Your Exercise
Exercise is a known mood booster, and helps you to release endorphins. It’s easy to slack off on fitness around the holidays due to schedules and the cold weather, but make sure to make time for physical activity. Physical activity will also help with the heightened holiday calorie intake as well.

8. Embrace Gratitude
Though the holidays can be a time where we reflect on the things that we do not have, try and spend some time being thankful and thinking of the positive things in your life. Whether it be a job that you love, a family, a pet, or a great friend, spend some time each day being thankful for what you do have.

9. Seek Professional Help If Needed
If you still can’t seem to shake the holiday blues, and these feelings have been going on for more than two weeks, seek out help. Counseling and therapy sessions are held not only in person, but over the phone and via video chat. Visit the Department of Behavioral Health for services offered to DC residents free of charge. Click here to learn more.