Beat the Holiday Doldrums


We are supposed to look forward to the holiday season and hope that it will be a time of happiness, friendliness, and peace. Often our anticipation and excitement turn into feelings of depression, commonly called holiday blues. Symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, sadness, insomnia, intestinal problems, and conflict with family and friends.

Part of what happens during the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events. Over drinking, overeating, and fatigue may contribute to mood changes. Other seasonal demands include shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, and extra financial burdens. Some may have a hard time adjusting to the colder, shorter days. Our current economy may exacerbate stressed or depressed feelings.

  1. Organize time. Don't overbook your schedule.

  2. Create time for yourself to do the things you enjoy: yoga, massage, spiritual practices, music, exercise or any activity you find relaxing.

  3. Treat yourself. Identify something you have always wanted to do such as make jewellery or wine, paint, or take a trip! Enjoy small pleasures such as walking in the park or watching toddlers play.

  4. Create something for others. Hand paint holiday cards, make candy bars and wrap theses individually in the paper you designed. Design a label for that wine you made and give a bottle to coworkers! Creativity feeds the soul and focuses the mind.

  5. Host a casual dinner or potluck party. Reach out to people you would like to get to know better.

  6. Watch a funny video or film. Play silly or childhood games. Have a costume party. Laughter is a great healer!  

  7.  Practice gratitude. Be thankful for things you have. When you focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, you emanate energy of abundance and have the courage to face each day with hope and determination.

  8. Respect yourself. Engage in positive self-talk. Reward yourself for completing a challenging project. Reinforce the positive in yourself and others. Develop a sense of humour and learn to laugh at yourself.

  9.  Keep problems in perspective. See the glass half full. View mistakes and setbacks as learning experiences. Note what you have learned from a recent setback.

  10.  Volunteer to help the underprivileged. Offer to serve holiday dinner at a homeless shelter or take a small gift to a hospitalized child.

  11.  Relax. Use techniques such as meditation and creative visualization to rejuvenate yourself. Leave worries outside of the bedroom and try to sleep at least seven hours every night.

  12.  Develop support systems. Cultivate meaningful relationships. These can be built from a variety of people including work associates, neighbours, family members, or club members. Talk about frustrations to trusted individuals, or seek professional advice.


  Dr. Carole Kanchier is a registered psychologist, coach, speaker, internationally syndicated columnist and author of the award-winning, groundbreaking book 'Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life.' Purchase it here:


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