How To Beat The Holiday Blues
The holidays, while filled with joy and cheer, can also hold some degree of stress.
While there’s no foolproof way to guarantee a holiday that’s free of stress or depression, there are several steps you can take to help you keep the holiday blues at bay:
Tip One: Remember you’re not alone. Despite the constant bombardment of picture-perfect family holiday cards or festive shoppers and party-goers on TV, almost everyone has experienced a less-than-joyful holiday season at one time or another.
Tip Two: Give yourself the gift of “no”. It’s okay to skip an event or two if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or tired. Size up your calendar and decide which activities are the most important this year, then politely decline those events that don’t make the cut. As a Plan B, you can offer to get together with your friend or family member when things settle down in January, or make a note to put the event you missed on the priority list for next holiday season.
Tip Three: Stick to your exercise routine. Physical activity is one of the best stress-fighting weapons around, so your exercise routine should stay at the top of your list during the holidays. Plus, if you start to ditch your routine during the month of December, you may find it hard to pick back up in the new year.
Tip Four: Start an exercise routine. There’s no rule that says you can’t set a goal to walk three times a week during the holiday season, even if you’re not currently exercising regularly – and you might find that a brisk stroll in the park on a pretty winter afternoon does wonders for lifting your spirits.
Tip Four: Make a budget and stick to it. Overspending is one of the top culprits when it comes to holiday stress. The 15 or 30 minutes it will take to sit down and plan out gift purchases and things to do while the kids are out of school will save plenty of time and potential headaches over the next few weeks. (Hint: Consider some DIY (do-it-yourself) family fun to help keep holiday creativity high and costs low.)
Tip Five: Mix alone time with social time. A little “you” time can be helpful for recharging the battery, but total isolation is rarely beneficial for mental health. Ask a friend or family member if they’d like to get together for coffee or a movie, or consider joining in group activities at work, church, or in the neighborhood as you feel able to do so. While you’re socializing, consider talking to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings, too – you may be surprised to learn that they have gone through the same challenges.
Tip Six: Get busy. If you’ve got some downtime this holiday season, sign up for an in-person or online class, check out the latest best sellers at the library, or tackle that around-the-house project that’s been on your mind. Getting involved in something stimulating or productive can have an energizing effect on your mental outlook.
Tip Seven: Help someone else. There’s nothing quite as rewarding – and as pleasantly distracting – as service to others. Find a local charity that needs some holiday assistance, commit random acts of kindness, or offer to do a favor for a friend or neighbor who may be going through some holiday challenges of their own.
If depression or anxiety is interfering with your everyday life, we can help. Contact the GRMC Behavioral Health Center for assistance.