• December 29, 2021


Do you know how to manage your emotions during the holidays?


There is this idea that holiday gatherings with friends and family are supposed to be joyful and stress-free, but if your family is like mine that is not always the case. Family relationships can be complicated.


The interactions between family and friends during holidays have a strange way of highlighting changes that have occurred in our lives or what has not yet changed. Being in such gatherings can stir up complex emotions that can make one feel down. But, because you are expected to be in the ‘happy holiday mode’ and you are not, that makes you feel even more miserable. That miserable feeling is called Holiday Blues. This could be the reason why the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year for many people.


I am in the Netherlands where we are experiencing a total lockdown this Christmas (2021). With the strict rules, one cannot even go to any restaurant for a meal. As we enter a second holiday season during a pandemic, and some of us are faced with grief, loss and continuous changes that may impact us and cause confusion around how we celebrate the holidays; here are some tips that can help you manage your emotions during this holiday.


8 Tools on How To Manage Holiday Blues


  1. Write a gratitude list and offer thanks to God and people. 2021 has been an especially challenging year for many of us. In the midst of it all, Is there something or someone for whom you are grateful? Gratitude has been shown to improve mental health and change negative thinking patterns. As we are nearing the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on what you are grateful for, then thank those who have supported you.


  1. Stay positive and bright. Manage your thinking. Let your mind dwell on those things that are lovely, of good report and praiseworthy. Money problems are a leading cause of holiday depression. Focus on the spirit of the season. Get money off your mind – ruminating and worrying about it will not change a thing. Instead, laugh more. Humour helps lighten moods and puts things in perspective. Sharing a laugh helps us connect and put aside our differences.


  1. Find joy on your terms. Do what matters most to you. Set realistic expectations and limits for yourself and others, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when something is outside the boundaries you set. Manage your time and don’t try to do too much.


  1. Be realistic. Please realize that the happy lives of the people shown in many holiday commercials are fictional. We all have struggles one time or another and it’s not realistic to expect otherwise. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to find the perfect gift or have a peaceful time with family. Yes, even Zoom family gatherings can be stressful!


  1. Eat well. With dinners, parties, and cookie trays at every turn, our eating habits are challenged during the holiday season. Try to maintain a healthy diet through it all.


  1. Talk to your friends and family If you are sad or struggling around the holidays, be honest about it. It helps others to understand what you’re going through. Open communication will also help you understand and honour your loved one’s feelings and preferences.


  1. Take care of yourself. Prioritize what you know works best for your mental health and be open to new self-care strategies. Be sure to get enough rest, stick to your exercise plan and eat healthy foods to balance out holiday activities.


  1. Speak up or seek help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, find support. Whether it’s with friends, family, a counsellor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. If that does not help, it may be time to share it with your mental health professional. They can help you pinpoint specific events that trigger you and help you create an action plan to change them. If you’re already seeing a therapist, keep it up.

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