These Tips Will Help You Navigate Your Holiday Blues

As the end of the year approaches, many people in America and around the world revel in the holiday season, a time of joyous celebration. 

For some, the festivities commence in October with the delightfully spooky Halloween. While for others, it kicks off on Thanksgiving day marked by indulging in traditional foods like turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato or pumpkin pies and an array of other delectable treats.

In the U.S., the holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving and extends until New Year’s. It’s a period that encompasses various holidays, including:

  • Kwanzaa: A week-long celebration honoring African culture and traditions, between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 each year.
  • Hanukkah: A Jewish festival commencing at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 7, and concluding on the evening of Friday, Dec. 15, lasting eight nights.
  • Christmas: A Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, observed on Dec. 25.
  • New Year’s Day: A holiday celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another.

The holiday season is synonymous with cheerfulness, gratitude and community. 

However, this time of year can also amplify feelings of sadness, exacerbated by societal expectations such as gift-giving, attending holiday parties and family gatherings. It can serve as a poignant reminder of what has changed, including the loss of loved ones and fractured friendships.

Over the years, there has been a prevalent belief perpetuated by media outlets that this seasonal sadness contributes to an increase in suicide rates. 

Contrarily, mental health professionals like Dr. Alecia Vogel-Hammen, Assistant Fellowship Director for Research at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, argue against this narrative. 

“It’s unfortunate that the myth that suicide rates increase around the winter holidays continues since studies have shown that’s just not the case… let’s not sensationalize the risk of suicide, or give people the impression that this is a time when more people are dying by suicide,” said Dr. Vogel-Hammen.

In her view, emphasizing this false risk can be harmful, potentially influencing those who are struggling and making it seem like a more prevalent occurrence. 

Still, as we navigate this holiday season, let’s be mindful of the narratives we propagate and strive to foster an environment of understanding, support and genuine connection for everyone.

For those prone to experiencing sadness or finding themselves alone during the holiday season, strategic emotional wellness care provided by a professional counselor can be instrumental. This approach can effectively help manage harmful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, paying attention to signs of sadness, acknowledging them, and dispelling mental untruths are crucial steps.

Here are eight additional ways to navigate and manage emotions during the holiday season:


  • Give back during the holidays by volunteering your services. Whether it’s before, on the day of, or after an event, making a difference can be deeply rewarding.

Host a “Friendsmas Event”:

  • Celebrate the chosen family—friends who have become like family. Host a “Friendsmas” event to cherish those meaningful connections.

Go Out to Eat:

  • Not all restaurants observe holiday hours. Find a restaurant you love, step out of the house and indulge in restaurant-quality food.

Create Movie Train:

  • Start a movie marathon with popcorn in hand. Whether it’s classic holiday films or newer releases, enjoy the ride. Mix it up with non-holiday movies that you love.

Set Out the Decorations:

  • Living alone is no reason not to decorate. Adorning your space can lift your spirits, evoke good memories and enhance your home experience.

Recreate Your Favorite Holiday Meal:

  • Honor yourself by recreating a favorite holiday meal from your past. Have fun experimenting with ingredients and savor the joy of both new and old memories.

Working During the Holidays:

  • If you find yourself working during the holidays, express gratitude for employment and celebrate when you have time off. You have the flexibility to choose when to celebrate.

Don’t Buy into Gift Pressure:

  • The holidays extend beyond gift-giving. Resist the pressure to spend beyond your means. Set a financial limit for gifts, ensuring a more stress-free celebration.

Being alone during the holiday season, whether it’s for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s, doesn’t translate to celebratory moments for everyone. The key is to define what the holidays mean to you. 

Resist succumbing to holiday propaganda, and instead, embrace new memories. 

After all, in the words of Andy Williams, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the hap-happiest season of all…”

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