Tips to Boost Your Holiday Mood

For many people, the holidays are a time for family and celebration. But sometimes the winter months may bring feelings of sadness and loneliness (you may have heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Although the holiday season doesn’t necessarily cause higher levels of depression, about 8-10% of the general population in the United States still struggle with feelings of isolation and general low mood.  So what can you do to get in the holiday spirit? Consider these tips:

  • Be realistic – Many people are really busy during the holiday season, which may result in increased stress. To avoid overextending yourself emotionally and financially, try to maintain realistic expectations. For example, set a shopping budget to avoid breaking the bank.
  • Exercise ­– Somewhere in between shopping and family gatherings some people skip their workout routine. Try not to let your exercise habits get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
  • See the light – If you’re feeling down it might be related to a lack of sunlight. Scheduling in brief, outdoor walks during the day could be helpful. Another great option is using a light therapy box.
  • Volunteer – Helping others is a great way to help yourself and the holidays are a perfect time to volunteer in your community. To get started, consider contacting your local United Way or using Volunteer Match to find the right organization for you.
  • Remember loved ones – Set aside time to remember and honor a lost loved one and be intentional about spending time with people you care about. Sharing these feelings with loved ones may provide an emotional boost.
  • Sleep – The holiday season is often full of late nights, so getting enough sleep is especially important. Check out these videos for why sleep matters.
  • Journal Journaling about emotionally challenging or stressful periods has been shown to promote psychological well-being. Check out these journaling tips and prompts and get started today!
  • Seek support! – We’ve all experienced stress during the holidays – don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed psychologist.