Supporting the Mental Health of South African NPO's


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holidays blues


The holidays are usually viewed as a time of happiness and rejoicing. But for some people, it can be a period of painful reflection, sadness and loneliness.

Holiday blues are feelings of Anxiety or Depression during the holiday season. There's shopping, social events and expectations of a good holiday, and these pressures can be stressful. During these times you may also missing loved ones or have negative feelings that come back from past memories of the holidays.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of the holiday blues is intensified feelings of Depression. These feelings could occur for people who may or may not be diagnosed with Depression. If you experience this, you may feel like simple activities are more difficult than normal. This includes things like getting out of bed, making dinner, or even having a shower.

Other symptoms of the blues may include:

- Feeling more tired than usual
- Losing interest in things that used to bring you joy
- Having trouble concentrating
- Problems with eating or sleeping

Ways to manage the holiday blues

- Limit alcohol: Whether you are at home or in a social setting where you know alcohol will be accessible, limit yourself to one or two drinks. Drinking to excess can affect your mood and amplify any negative feelings that you may have.

- Get plenty of sleep: Try to go to bed at a specific time each night. Being well-rested can improve your mood and help replenish your reserves to better manage challenging times.

- Learn to say “no”: Overscheduling and not making time for yourself can lead to emotional breakdowns. Learn how to say “no,” and stay firm on your decision.

- Be open to new traditions: You may have an image or idea of what you think the holiday should be, and this may not be what’s actually
happening. Instead of holding on to what the holiday should have been, allow new traditions to unfold.

- Get support: If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be especially tough. It can be tempting to isolate yourself and grieve – Spending time with and getting support from loved ones, will help you get through this difficult time.

- Get active: While we are spending more time at home, indulging in delicious food, make time for regular exercise. Go for a walk around the block or go to the gym a few times a week – Getting your heart rate up will release mood-boosting endorphins.

- Avoid overeating: Before heading out to social events, snack on healthy snacks like veggies. You can even take some snacks of your own! Holiday outings can often lead to overeating, which can negatively affect mood and overall well-being.

- Set a budget: The financial stress of the holiday season is a huge burden and can be a major cause of the holiday blues. Individuals feel they have to go overboard to show their affection - Whether you have a large or small income, set a budget for all holiday expenses and stick to it. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, look into making homemade gifts, gifting your skill or partaking in a family secret santa.

- Find ways to fill your cup: Take a breather and make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy - Spending 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to deal with everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include taking a walk at night and stargazing, listening to soothing music or reading a book.

- Take control of the holidays: Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Take steps to prevent Stress and Depression that can impact your metal well-being. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so that you can prevent them from becoming a bigger issue. With a little planning and being intentional about self-care, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

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