The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, yet for some, they trigger deep feelings of sadness and anxiety. It can feel like there’s a big gap between what other people are experiencing and what you’re experiencing. Add the financial pressure of gift-giving, cold weather and lack of sunlight, and those are prime conditions for a world-class funk, here are some tips to help you improve your mood over the holiday season, if needed:
1. Don’t Try to Do Too Much
Many people try to do too much for the holidays, and without enough time to do everything planned.
- There’s too much gift shopping to do without enough money.
- There are too many parties and events to attend without enough down time between them.
- There’s too much eating and drinking without enough will power.
- For others, however, there’s not enough friendship, activity or fun.
Take control of your situation, instead of letting your situation take control of you. Cut back on those lists by picking choosing more carefully, and your decisions will likely serve you very well.
2. Be Good to Yourself
No matter what our situation is, think about what would make you feel better, and plan on how to do that, no matter what else is on your list. It could be contacting and spending time with a friend (or two) that you haven’t seen for a while, shopping for something for yourself, helping someone else, visiting a house of worship – for quiet time or to meet others, and many other things that you would find personally satisfying.
3. Give Back by Helping Others
Helping others is often a great way to get away from thinking about yourself, especially if you have a tendency to sadness at the holiday season. Not only will helping a person in need make you feel better, but it will also be uplifting for the person, or persons, you help. That will also make the holidays more meaningful for all involved.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Focus time on eating healthy, staying fit, and getting enough sleep. Staying physically active will help lift your spirits, as well as limiting the amount of junk food, sugary foods, and alcohol you eat and drink. Remember especially that alcohol is a depressant. Speaking of drinking, it’s always good to drink a lot of water every day.
5. Spend Carefully
While using credit cards and debit cards during the holiday season seems easy for many, the overspending can quickly cause stress and unhappiness, and for many months afterwards, as one struggles to pay those bills. That’s why it’s important to avoid too much gift giving, and focus instead on creative ways to give, such as by spending quality time with one or more others, doing things you don’t usually do.
6. Breathe Deeply When You Feel Stressed Out
At times when you really feel stressed out, stop whatever you’re doing, sit quietly for a minute or two, and begin taking in full deep breaths, let the air go to the bottom of your lungs, and then slowly breathing out with a sign that you (and quite possibly those around you) can hear. Repeat this experience a few times (the number is up to you) with your eyes closed and your mind drifting away from your cares of the day. You will likely find deep breathing very relaxing. Click here for more Deep Breathing Techniques.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Grieve
If you’ve recently lost a friend or family member, it’s OK to miss and think a lot about him or her, so long as you don’t devote most or all of your time to missing that person. A good reason is because, among other things, he or she would likely want you to remember him or her, but to also move on with a life of enjoyment. So if you haven’t started doing that, begin planning for that.
8. Stay Away from “Toxic People” and Situations
Remove yourself from toxic, or negative situations because they are not helpful. As Health Power’s Spiritual Health Channel says, “Always keep people in your life that charge your battery, not those who drain it!”
9. Seek Support If You Feel Too Blue
If you feel very sad, hopeless, lonely or “empty”, seek support from a trusted family member or friend. However, if you have repeated thoughts of death or suicide, get professional help at once because you may have serious depression that requires immediate treatment. Click here for more Health Power information on depression.
10. Enjoy the Season
Although it’s not always easy, enjoy the various musical choices and sounds, the family discussions and activities, (which isn’t always easy to do), the other people in gatherings, the decorations, the gifts, the social activities, and all that makes the year-end holidays so special. Health Power also recommends the following documented ways to reduce stress and fight the blues:
Laughing – at yourself as well as others;
Walking – (and other exercises) – with one or more walking buddies or partners;
Sleeping enough – which helps to prevent depression
In summary, stay active, but get enough rest, and socialize by spending time with others (it can be only one person) you enjoy being with.
NOTE: If you feel alone too much, are crying all the time, and especially if you feel that way for two weeks or more, you probably have clinical depression and need to see a doctor who has experience in this area, without delay.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!