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7 Tips to Avoid a Blue Christmas

7 Tips to Avoid a Blue Christmas

avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Family dinner tables filled with cheer and laughter abound in holiday advertisements. Even your favorite sit-com or drama will likely include some version of a happy holiday scene to end the season. For some of us, the holidays bring or increase stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. And if you experienced mental health concerns prior to the holidays, these last two months of the year can make you feel even worse. We can’t offer a prescriptive answer to solve all your holiday woes, but we can make a few suggestions to ease the burden and help you avoid a blue Christmas this year.

Check-in With Your Therapist

If you’re in therapy, the holidays aren’t the time to skip appointments. It’s tempting with all the busyness of the season to push back that appointment until after the first of year. Don’t. If you haven’t met with a therapist lately, the holidays are a great time for a check-in. Even if you’ve never met with a therapist, the holidays are a perfect time to connect with a therapist to talk about how this season affects you, how to avoid a blue Christmas, and how you can manage your mental health during this time.

Real vs Perfect

Only television shows and stock photos have perfect families. No matter what you see on social media, your friends and family aren’t living a perfect life. It’s easy this time of year to reflect on the past twelve months or even where you are in life and experience negative emotions if you haven’t hit all the goals you set for yourself. Help yourself move out of that zone by setting a small goal related to your larger goal. For instance, if you want to find a better job, start by working on your resume.

Prioritize Activities

The holidays are stuffed full of activities from get-togethers to ice skating to cookie decorating. Want to know a secret? You don’t have to do them all. How many activities can you physically and mentally manage? Which of the scheduled activities are most important to you? If certain activities or expectations dredge up painful memories or trauma, it’s okay to skip those or at the very least plan some self-care activities before and after. 

Sit in the Sunshine

Not only can the holidays bring painful memories, but they happen during the time of the year with the least amount of sunshine. Lack of sun itself can cause depression. Schedule some outdoor activities during daylight hours. If possible, move your workstation near a window. More lights in your home, even those on your Christmas tree, may help avoid a blue Christmas too.

Budget for Gifts

The smile on a loved one’s face when they open your gift is priceless, until the credit card bill comes due in January. If you’re concerned about the cost of giving gifts this holiday season, talk to your family about drawing names instead of giving to everyone or doing a Christmas ornament swap. You may choose to give homemade gifts or donate to a charity in someone else’s name instead. Be creative, but most of all stick to a budget. If you won’t be able to give gifts this year, be honest with your family and friends. It’s been a hard 18 months for everyone.


The buzz-word conjures images of spa days or weekends spent watching Netflix and eating chocolate, but it can be as simple as staying in one night and going to bed early. Plan time for shopping and cooking so you’re less stressed as holiday gatherings arrive. Remember #3 above. By prioritizing your events, you’ll have time to spend doing the things you enjoy and preparing for the events you’re looking forward to attending.

Stay Healthy

Don’t forsake your exercise and healthy eating habits. You’ve worked hard all year to be both mentally and physically healthy, don’t stop now. Part of self-care means keeping your exercise routine and not eating every dessert and dip that comes your way this season. On days when you aren’t getting together with friends, plan healthy meals at home. Keeping your routine adds comfort to your days even when you’re not feeling your best.

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