Oooh… the holidays.
Cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, an old Tony Bennett album playing in the background.
But the holidays can mean different things to different people.
Especially during winter (don’t look at me like that, the holidays in Chile are during summer).
The days get shorter, the weather turns sour, and people don’t go out as much.
Winter months can be tough.
For some of us, it can feel like a heavy load, like it would take a serious commitment to summon some positive vibes into our lives.
Your cocoa, the fireplace, and Tony Bennett just won’t cut it.
Say hello to the “Holiday Blues”
In just a few words, the “Holiday Blues” is a feeling of sadness during the holiday season. A period where you can experience sadness, loneliness, or even depression and anxiety.
It is also known as “Holiday Depression.”
Or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for a more scientific term.
More common than you realize
Last week, many of my clients wanted to talk to me about their struggles during this season.
Yes, believe it or not, this phenomenon is as popular as Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé during the holiday season.
For me, even though I live in LA, and shouldn’t complain about the weather, this time of the year is an emotional battleground.
I’ve got to bring out all my emotional artillery to combat feelings of apathy and boredom, because feelings like playfulness and cheekiness, are not my default setting.
What about social media?
And then there’s the constant onslaught of social media telling us how we should be feeling – cute, bold, adventurous.
It’s a stark contrast to our reality, and that’s when the dark cloud of depression tends to settle in as we start comparing ourselves.
How to Navigate the Holiday Blues
Talking to my therapist the other day, she had a great suggestion…
“Change Your Winter Routine”
Just like the seasons, our inner worlds aren’t always in perpetual summer mode.
It’s crucial to accept the natural rhythm of life. There’s expansion, but there’s also contraction.
There are moments when parts of us need to take a breather, moments to accept and embrace life as is.
One of the changes I made can appear small, but it had a huge impact on my day-to-day.
I adjusted my winter routine by waking up earlier so that when the sun decides to call it a day at 4:30 p.m., I’m not left feeling defeated like I ran out of time.
Small changes can have a great impact once you integrate them into your daily life, so don’t overthink it or judge it because it doesn’t feel complex enough.
Provoke a Mood Swing
If seasonal circumstances trigger this feeling of sadness, we can also provoke things that we know will change our mood.
There is one thing that is guaranteed to change your mood right on the spot:
“You cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time.”—A woman to Dr. Tom Costa, Attitudes of Gratitude.
And no exercise could put a smile on your face faster than “Three Good Things.”
Three Good Things
Quick, simple, but powerful.
All you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and some quiet time and space for 10 minutes. A cup of tea, a glass of wine, or anything else you want to add to your ritual is totally optional. 😉
Think of three good things happening in your life, jot down how they make you feel, and why you’re thankful for them (full instructions in the download below).
👉 You can download the exercise here for free:
I’m more of a weekly kind of girl. So, on Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee, I take out my journal and instead of dwelling on what didn’t go right during the week, I focus on what did.
Last Saturday was my initiation, and it was eye-opening. I realized how much good I take for granted – from successes with clients to heartwarming conversations with my kids.
That’s why I’m sharing this exercise with you, because it shifted my perspective.
It’s not about manifesting or creating something new. It’s about recognizing and appreciating what’s already great in your life.
It’s like turning on a switch to joy and bringing light into your world.
Give it a shot; you might be surprised at the positive things already happening in your holidays…
Image Credit: Gantas Vaičiulėnas