How to Cope with End of the Year Blues

Just as some folks are counting down to when it’s appropriate to break out the holiday music, keep in mind some of us are not as cheerful this season.

Think about the last six months of news and natural disasters. Imagine you’re in Puerto Rico, Texas or even here in Atlanta where I still see homes damaged from the remnants of the hurricanes and storms. Do you imagine they’re ready to break out the Christmas tree and lights – or what it’s like to lose those family treasures?

This may be someone’s first holiday season without a loved one who passed away.

Imagine you’ve been out of work for months and know that holiday gifts are not a part of your budget.

A family dispute you had during the year (or heck, after the last presidential election) will probably come to a head when you off across the Thanksgiving table.

Didn’t lose the 20 pounds you wanted this year? Welcome to the end of the year blues!

I am not a licensed therapist or counselor.  Below you’ll find a few of the coping mechanisms I’ve experienced and noticed make a difference. My affiliate links are below too.

How to Cope with End of the Year Blues
Credit: Unsplash

Ways to Cope with End of the Year Blues

Take a break –  Say “no” to additional projects and invitations of you know it’s only going to make you feel worse. Don’t feel obligated to do anything additional our of tradition.

See a therapist or counselor – Therapy and counseling can help you address your feelings with a professional. Keep in mind, their visits often aren’t covered by insurance. Your job’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide you referrals to counselors or therapists and help cover the cost.

Read a self-help book or biography –  I’m almost done reading Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes.”  Although she’s not a therapist, her story about moving up the ranks of Hollywood while juggling life as a single mom is inspiring. Shonda decided to stop retreating from personal opportunities and to address her physical fitness during her year of yes.

When I was pregnant with A.J. and grew concerned about postpartum depression, I read Brooke Shield’s “Down Came the Rain” about her experience.

If you’re working on your finances and retirement, I recommend reading anything by radio host & author Dave Ramsey.

For dietary changes, I’ve had the best success when I went on the South Beach Diet.


Hire help – When I’m depressed the last thing I want to do is clean my house. Imagine if your book a holiday home cleaning and go into the New Year with a sparkling home?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, hire a holiday helper or assistant. Ask a neighborhood teenager, put out a plea on Facebook or consider using TaskRabbit to hire someone for a gig. Here are some tasks for a holiday helper.

Sample Tasks for a Holiday Helper
Credit: Pixabay

Get moving – The gym is practically empty by the end of the year. This is the perfect time to take a tour or ask for a complimentary one week pass.

It surprised me when I dropped in to a Zumba class last week that moving around gave me an immediate mood lift. The next day my body was sore as hell, though.

Instead of using the excuse of trying to find childcare while I exercise, I brought A.J. to play with another little friend whose mom is in the class.

Take a hike or borrow a bike. Get outside and enjoy the fall weather.

I'm sharing what it feels like to be 40 pounds overweight, unmotivated and tired.


Take a trip – Release yourself from family obligations or the idea that your holidays need to be traditional.

When I see families who choose to spend the holidays on the slopes, on a cruise or at Disney World I think – “what an amazing idea.”

We took a Carnival Cruise in December 2015 and although we also saw family over the holidays, I’d be open to cruising for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Imagine getting treated like a guest, instead of feeling obligated to cook, clean and host relatives.

See A.J.’s Carnival Cruise Memories video if you need a good chuckle.

A.J. Carnival Cruise Port

Give back – If your budget doesn’t allow a monetary way to donate to charities, donate your time and volunteer. Tweet about and share news from your favorite charities.

You’d be amazed at how taking the attention off of your problems and focusing on others can help.

Talk back to me in the comments: Are the holidays always a happy time of year for you? Can you think of a time you struggled through Christmas or Hanukkah? What helped you get motivated?

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. I am extra sad this year because it will be the first Christmas without my mom. I think taking a trip sounds like a good idea.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I don’t usually get seasonal blues, but I have a friend who got one of those mood lights and everything. I’ll have to show this to her.

  3. Ever since my dad passed away 25 years ago, Christmas for me has never been the same. How I wish he was here to enjoy celebrating with his grandchildren. I will heed your advice on how to shake off these end of the year blues. Maybe that would ease the pain, but I will never forget how much I love and miss my dad.

  4. These are really helpful tips to share for anyone struggling this end of year season. I know many who suffer this time of year, I will share your inspiring ideas with them.

  5. These strategies do sound helpful. Talking with someone like a therapist can make such a big difference in your life! It’s always good to give yourself a vacation too!

  6. I always find that a good book helps motivate me to get over a bad spell. I actually just had a baby, and I would love to read Brook Shield’s book. Thanks for the great ideas! I cannot believe the end of the year is already right around the corner!

  7. I’m a nervous wreck because every year I just mentally shut down right before Thanksgiving and nothing brings me joy. I normally snap out of this in February but I’d prefer to just skip the depression this year

  8. My mom passed away right before Christmas three years ago. I know talking to someone would help with the sadness.

  9. These are great ideas to get over the end of the year blues. Talking to a counselor is always helpful.

  10. This is going to help a lot of people. This was such a good year, I hate to see it end.

  11. I always get a little sad at the end of the year after the holidays are over. These are great tips!

  12. Taking a short trip this time of the year is a great way to start off the holidays. I can not believe how fast this year flew by.

  13. I’ve heard the Year of Yes is excellent! I’ve added it to my list of books to read. Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. These are really great tips. Holidays could be so busy but this is a great time to take some break with the family.

  15. Great tips! I am not really looking forward to Thanksgiving because it’ll be the first one since my grandpa, the family patriarch, died last month and we’ll be hosting it at my house instead of his. It just hurts my heart. I do love these tips though. I was stressing about getting everything done perfectly for the family and so I finally just broke down and started hiring things out. I actually had the carpet cleaners over earlier today! I also love to sweat out any stress and bad feelings at my gym. I think I need to find a good book to read as well, probably something on grief. I wish I could take a trip, but it’s not in the cards this year!