While the holiday season is often a time to be jolly, it can leave a lot of people feeling sad and exhausted. Even people who love the holidays can experience the blues during this busy season.

What gifts are you going to get for everyone? Do you have enough time to spend with people that you love? Are you missing a loved one this holiday season? There are so many reasons why holiday stressors can turn into the holiday blues.

Here’s an early gift to yourself: Five ways to make your holidays a brighter shade of blue.

1. Be Open to New Traditions

The holiday season is a time for rituals and traditions. Family recipes, decorating and games. Many of these traditions bring nostalgic memories. But what if you’ve lost someone you shared it with? Or it just doesn’t make you happy anymore? Maybe your taste buds have outgrown that old family pie recipe.

ALL traditions had to be new at some point! And it’s ok to start a new one that makes sense for you and your loved ones.

2. It’s Okay to Say “No”

Green mug that says It's Okay to say "no" TO FAMILY GATHERINGS.

Let’s be real. Being festive can be EXHAUSTING.

Don’t feel like hanging lights? Say no. Don’t want to spend your evening with your 5th cousin once removed? Say no. Saying “no” is self-care. Declining an invitation to take care of yourself is perfectly acceptable. Set clear limits about what you can and cannot do. Focus on meaningful experiences. 

3. Stick to a Realistic Budget

Budget. Budget. Don’t let financial stress turn you blue! Gift buying, decorations, and holiday meal prepping can be very expensive. Be practical, set yourself a budget and stick to it.

Instead of buying gifts for everyone on your list, maybe look into homemade gifts or doing a secret Santa! Secret Santa rules are simple: each person draws one name and only buys for that one individual. You can even set a price limit to lower the cost.

4. Volunteer

I don’t know about you, but helping someone always makes me feel better! Taking a meal to a neighbor. Spending time at a Senior Center. Or maybe volunteering to clean up a park with others.

10 volunteers cleaning up a park

As a matter of fact, there are many volunteer opportunities with the County! You’ve accomplished something good, and met new people who are trying to better our community as well!

5. Take Care of Yourself

Anyone else sometimes feel like they need a vacation after the holidays? Don’t forget to take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health, during and every day after the holidays. Listen to your favorite music, disconnect from social media or turn on your favorite comedy movie. Small adjustments that won’t make or break your routine can be the little added boost you need!

Make sure you have the mental health resources that you need. If it all seems too overwhelming, you can call or text 9-8-8 any time day or night to get support. That’s the easy-to-remember number for the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline.

I hope these tips help you beat the holiday blues. Even if it’s just by a little. If anything, remember that in just a few weeks, the holidays will be over and you’ll get a fresh start with a new year!