Need help with the holiday blues?
Why it’s normal to not feel the joy of the season.
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Why it’s normal to not feel the joy of the season.
The holidays are filled with traditions, memories, and joy. But even wonderful moments can create stress, especially when we’re hosting events, rushing from place to place, doing extra shopping, and working to make moments perfect. It’s also a time we can feel disconnected from friends and family or struggle in general with the season. If you’re feeling the holiday blues, read below for the answers to some of the most common mental health questions people have.
During the holidays, we can look around at everyone filled with cheer, celebrating the season, and think there’s something wrong with us if we don’t feel the same. But this is totally normal. And you could be feeling this way for many reasons, including:
Just because you’re hosting the holiday event or usually wrap all the presents doesn’t mean you have to do it all. It’s ok to ask for help or find ways to make it simpler. Like making the holiday meal a potluck or ordering dinner and asking people to chip in. You can also ask friends or family to bring games that unite everyone. You deserve to enjoy the holiday and create new memories and traditions by spending time with the people you love.
You could feel this way for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve had disagreements with friends or family in the past, or there are painful memories that may surface. Or it could be that you’ve had a busy, stressful year (or two or three), and you need rest and downtime. This is all normal. And it’s okay to decline or limit the number of events you attend. It’s also okay to only attend events or gatherings for a brief period. Some years, more down time can help us enjoy the holiday more, and that’s okay.
If you do go to some events, try to withhold judgment, and not take comments or behaviors from the people who “press your buttons” too seriously. When we practice not taking things personally (no matter how hard that can be!), we start to build more emotional resilience. We can’t control what others do or say, but we can control our reactions to them. The more we practice, the easier this gets!
If you’ve gone through a lot of chronic stress or trauma (like living through a pandemic), not enjoying the things that once brought you joy during this time of year (like certain songs, movies, or meals) is a normal response. It takes time to get your joy back. And you might find that when you heal, the things that once brought you joy no longer do. Practice finding new things that bring you joy, like listening to a new style of music, reading different types of books or watching new shows. You can also look for new hobbies, like cycling, pottery, cooking, or gardening.
There are many reasons you might be separated or isolated from your friends and family during the holidays, and there are so many triggers that can make this loneliness worse. Here are some things you can try if you’re isolated this holiday season:
Sadness is also a normal emotion, but if you think this sadness is interfering with your ability to function day-to-day, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. Don’t be scared to bring up your mental health with your doctor. They can work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you feel your best. Or your doctor can recommend a therapist or specialist to help.
You can also check out these extra resources to help you build resiliency and navigate the stressful holiday season.
1National Library of Medicine. "Seasonal Affective Disorder"
2National Library of Medicine. "Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study"
3National Library of Medicine. "Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: the implications of treating oneself kindly"
4American Diabetes Association. "The Benefits of Walking"
5Mayo Clinic Health System. "The art of kindness"
*meQuilibrium is an independent company contracted by Florida Blue to provide health and wellness services and resources to members. This benefit is available to Florida Blue members age 18 and older. Eligibility is limited to members with an individual or family plan, an individual or family ACA plan and members with coverage from their fully insured group employer health plan.
**Florida Blue has entered into an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information and other services. All decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgement or training, or the need for medical services, are solely the member’s responsibility and the responsibility of their physicians and other health care providers. Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the BlueforMe app.
988 is the call number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an independent company offering mental health counselling via phone call or text.