RALIANCE Reading: Tips to Take Care of Yourself and Loved Ones Over the Holidays

Blonde woman seated in front of a Christmas tree holding a mug and looking somber.

Although the holidays can be filled with cheer, seasonal depression can affect up to 10 percent of people in the United States, depending on where they live, according to the National Library of Medicine, and can be most rampant during the holiday season. We also know that this time may be particularly lonely or stressful for others for a number of reasons. As a result, some may resort to burying themselves in work or unhealthy habits to escape, which could negatively impact their mental, physical and emotional health.  If you or someone you know—a colleague or a friend—may be experiencing a tough time this winter, please check out these notable reads to help productively navigate through the holidays and recharge for the New Year:

Here’s what’s behind your holiday blues – and how to cope with loneliness this winter (MSNBC) In this piece, Dr. Fried, dean of the Columbia School of Public Health, shares strategies to combat sadness and isolation, especially for women, including making a resolution to volunteer in the coming year, considering getting a pet, talking to a therapist and opening up the door to people who will also be alone around the holidays to combat the holiday blues. It is always necessary to know that experiencing loneliness is not uncommon and that there are always effective ways to minimize isolated feelings.

Darker Days Are Coming. Don’t Let Them Get You Down (Wall Street Journal) – With December 21st marking the winter solstice, the dark hours of the month are longer, and the sunlight hours are shorter. This article provides helpful steps to combat the dark days around the holiday season.  Some examples include taking stock of what you eat – such as having a diet rich in B vitamins or tryptophan-rich foods that can boost your mood – or creating a ritual that can combat feelings of depression.  Light therapy can also combat negative feelings influenced by the dark hours. Light can have a therapeutic effect on the body’s internal clock, making people less prone to the impact of shorter days. 

11 Therapists on Dealing With Stressful Family Relationships During the Holidays (Self)While family gatherings over the holiday season can be blissful for many, for others, it can result in stress and anxiety. This article details effective ways to manage one’s mental health during holiday get-togethers. Some examples include establishing boundaries with your family ahead of time, making a safe space for yourself and reminding yourself it is perfectly acceptable to disengage in situations that can be uncomfortable. It may even be helpful to detach, when necessary, whether it be heading out on a walk break or engaging in grounding exercises.

Grief and loss throughout the holiday season (Mayo Clinic Health System)– The holiday season can heighten feelings of grief and loss for those dealing with the death of someone close to them. This article provides helpful actions to approach the healing process amidst the holidays. Whether it be making plans with those close to you or finding ways to remember your loved ones, these tools can help you navigate through rough spots in the process. It is important to recognize that there is no predictable timetable for grief. According to the article, going at your own pace and understanding why you are grieving will help to provide a little bit more peace through the holiday season.

It is perfectly normal to feel unhappy during the holiday season, and we hope these tools and tips can help combat the holiday blues.

RALIANCE is a trusted adviser for organizations committed to building cultures that are safe, equitable, and respectful. RALIANCE offers unparalleled expertise in serving survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse which drives our mission to help organizations across sectors create inclusive environments for all. For more information, please visit www.RALIANCE.org.


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