Whether youre Indian or not, the period between October and January every year is the grand, prolonged festive season packed with events that are supposed to spark feelings of happiness, togetherness and celebration. From festivals like Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali, to ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas, culminating in New Years Eve and New Years Daythis festive season is months long, and usually, a time packed with festivities. Add the fact that this is also wedding season in India, and you know just what a good time youre supposed to have.And yet, a phenomenon called Holiday Blues is often associated with this very period of festivity. Wondering why? Heres everything you should know.Holiday Blues And WomenThe American Psychological Association (APA) reveals that for many people, the festive season, instead of one filled with joy and cheer, becomes a time about self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures and losses, and anxiety about the uncertainties of the future. Both the APA and the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) agree that these feelings of holiday blues are generally temporary, and are usually fuelled by some of the same causes that get highlighted during this period of time: Unrealistic expectations (of self or from family and friends) Financial constraints (especially highlighted by budget issues that emerge around gifting and quality of celebrations) Isolation, distance from loved ones, and loneliness Memories of a loved one who has passed Demands of festive preparations which lead to stress and physical strainAccording to researchers at the University of Maryland, USA, the festive season is also the time when your body clock changes due to all the events you have to be a part of, which is why your bodys circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle gets affected. Hence, that feeling of being utterly drained you get after a big festivals festivities are done with.In a survey they did in 2006, APA researchers also found that women are significantly more likely than men to worry about money to purchase gifts, and to take on added workloadincluding activities like last-minute shopping and working overtime in the kitchen to feed guests. While 46 per cent of women, according to this survey, were likely to suffer from the holiday blues, only 35 per cent of men suffer from the same problem. Clearly, women have to be more aware of the holiday blues so that they can not only prevent it, but also cope with it better if it does emerge.Symptoms Of Holiday BluesThe symptoms of Holiday Blues can vary from person to person, depending on the things your attention is most focused on during the holiday season. And yet, experts with the APA and NAMI suggest that there are a few symptoms that people usually do have in common. These are: Anxiety Stress Irritability Difficulty in concentrating Fatigue Sadness Lethargy Changes in appetiteIts very important to note that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Holiday Blues have affected more people due to lockdowns, travel restrictions, gathering restrictions, etc. Even as the world is now slowly emerging out of this global crisis, its important to reach out to people who are suffering from mental health issueswhether they are short-term ones like the Holiday Blues, or long-term ones like clinical depression and anxiety disorders.How To Cope With The Holiday BluesNo matter what your triggers and symptoms are, there are a number of ways in which you can learn to cope with the Holiday Blues. The following are some coping mechanisms you must utilise during this festive season.Manage expectations: Its very important to set reasonable expectations for the festive season. You are human, and accomplishing everything under the sun is not something that you can realistically do. Set your priorities accordingly, and make sure you set your limits with your family and friends unrealistic expectations too.Maintain regular habits: Sure, its the festive season and you will be engaging in many activities that you usually dont. This can include everything from consuming more sugar than you usually do, to staying up all night for a party. However, even amidst this, maintain a few regular habits that ground you and keep you healthy. Whether its your morning run or yoga session, or reading a book, indulge in it to ensure you have some semblance of normalcy.Make a budget: The holiday season may consist of many occasions you want to celebrate, but if going beyond your means gives you stressas its likely tothen prevent doing that. Make a budget for all your expenses, including, food, gifts, decorations and travel, and stick to it. For more tips, read our guide on managing finances during the festive season.Look for a release: Holiday Blues can be triggered by many unpleasant emotions, from anger to irritation to sadness. Venting these emotions the right way is very important to keep them from turning into toxic thoughts or actions. This is the reason why experts recommend that you utilise a method to release these feelings. You could take to journaling, art therapy, dancing, music, and therapy in any other form.Let yourself grieve: Grieving is an important process, and should not be avoided, especially around the festive season. If its a loved one youre missing, get together with others they knew to pay homage. If its the loss of traditions youre missing due to situations like COVID, create new ones that suit your situation better now.Holiday Blues And DepressionThe APA also suggests that there are a number of mental health conditions that can overlap with Holiday Blues, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which usually hits during the winter months. NAMI suggests that people with existing mental illnesses also report that their condition worsens during the holiday season. Their survey, which was published in 2014, revealed that 24 per cent of the people with diagnosed mental health issues said that holidays make their condition a lot worse, while 40 per cent said holidays make their condition somewhat worse. The survey also says that the immense pressure to be joyful and social often leads to these exacerbated conditions.So, its very important to reach out to people who are living with mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders during the festive season. Tailoring the festivities according to their comfort may also ease the pressure, so try doing that if its feasible. Equally crucial here is the reminder that if your Holiday Blues are not temporary, and if the symptoms persist well beyond the festive or holiday season, do not take it lightly. Its easy to overlook the risk of depression when you imagine what you have is a simple case of Holiday Blues or SAD, but mental health issues need to be taken very seriously. The earlier you acknowledge the problem and reach out to a mental health professional for help, the better for you and your loved ones.