A well-known and perpetuated myth is that holidays are meant to be spent in a well-decorated home with a table filled with home-cooked meals and a large group of friends and family who all love and care about each other. This myth brings about much stress and anxiety, as people all over the world strive to make this mystical picture a reality and feel depressed when they cannot. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines the feelings of fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness or isolation, sadness, or sense of loss as “the holiday blues”. A NAMI survey found that 64% of people say they are affected by this, and 24% say the holidays affect them a lot. NAMI notes that the holiday blues are different from clinical anxiety or depression because the feelings are temporary – however, these feelings can lead to long-term mental health conditions if not taken care of properly.
While some families can have some form of the mystical holiday picture, not everyone’s story is like that, and that’s okay. There are millions of people out there who, by societal standards, spend their holidays “alone” – but they’re not alone. Many choose to do other things that make the holidays special for them, even if it’s not specifically with friends or family. For example, many people volunteer by serving food at a homeless shelter or visiting the elderly in residential centers. Many senior citizens feel depressed during the holidays because they’ve lost a loved one or they do not have the health or finances to do something for the holidays. This provides them with wonderful company, they can support a cause, and their heart grows bigger by being with others.
In the simplest form, treat the holiday as a typical day and have a detailed list of activity scheduled for the day. NAMI states that sticking to a routine is best because it allows you to stay focused on what you must do rather than wondering what you may be missing. Make the decision to get up, make breakfast, do some cleaning, exercise, do something creative, etc. Before you know it, a full day will go by and it will be time for bed – your day will not have been wasted, and you will feel pleasure in knowing that you had a good day without feeling upset. A few other activities you can do:
- Listen to music
- Spend time with supportive, caring people even if they’re from school, work, church, etc.
- Spend quality time with your pets.
- Call distant relatives to see how they’re doing and maintain contact.
- Go outside and take a nice walk.
If you’re seeking a treatment center, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. Our licensed, experienced professionals care about your success and will work closely with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. Call us for a consultation.