Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Catalogs.com Info Guru
The “holiday season” is a period of five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas in which gifts are bought, parties are thrown and families see one another, often for their once-a-year visit.
Whether you’re feeling a mild case of the blues or worse, there are things you can do (and not do) to feel more positive. The top 10 ways to beat holiday depression can help you get through the season appreciating the small moments.
10. Avoid Negative People
Negative people can bring you down. Scrooges drain your energy and will try to take away your motivation – misery loves company. Spend your time with people who bring out the best in you.
9. Get Out
Make a list of a few inexpensive activities your can do in a day. Browse an outdoor holiday fair and take a walk in the evening with a cup of hot cocoa and check out the neighborhood light displays. Visit your favorite place whether it’s a restaurant, museum or park bench. Bundle up and spend at least 15 minutes outside as many people develop vitamin D deficiency in winter.
8. Start Your Own Tradition
Rather than comparing your holidays as an adult to those you enjoyed as a child, create a new tradition that suits who you are today. If you’re a knitter, spend the day knitting in a café listening to holiday music. Find a small Santa figure and take pictures of him in odd places around your neighborhood. Write a short Christmas story or invite a few friends over to watch bad Christmas movies and share a potluck dinner.
7. Meditate and Do Yoga
In addition to spiritual benefits regardless of your religion, meditation and yoga help connect your mind, body and spirit. Sit in a quiet place for 15 minutes a day. Close your eyes and repeat a simple mantra to keep your mind from wandering. Follow meditation with 10 or 15 minutes of basic yoga. You can stream online yoga videos for free online or pick up a yoga DVD at a discount store. People who meditate report improved concentration, relaxation and insight.
6. Start a Collection
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, proposes that starting a collection is one way to increase happiness. Starting a collection will give you a sense of purpose, a mission when you’re amidst holiday shoppers and markets. Choose something rare and small to collect so it’s exciting when you find a new addition. Collect framed pictures, buttons, figurines and vintage postcards that feature the object of your collection.
5. Stick to Your Budget
For many, increased spending is a major source of anxiety over the holidays. Look at your finances and determine what you can afford to spend on all things related to the holiday. Make a list of all of your holiday expenses and figure out what you can cut or reduce by making decorations and gifts instead of buying everything. Remember that your loved ones may have a smaller budget this year as well so consider calling them o agree on a spending cap that you’re both comfortable with.
Studies show that exercise boosts energy, improves cognitive function and eases the symptoms of depression. Run, visit you gym, check out an online fitness routine you can do in your living room or stream an online exercise video from Youtube. There are hundreds of free online exercise videos online.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant. If you’re already depressed, alcohol will intensify your symptoms and make you feel sluggish the next day. Drink non-alcoholic eggnog, cider or punch at parties instead. If you’re craving wine or liquor, try a warm beverage like hot chocolate or chai or a mocktail, a pitcher of your favorite cocktail minus the alcohol. Mocktail screwdrivers, for instance, mix orange juice and ginger ale.
If you don’t have a stack of invites to holiday parties crowding your calendar, make a few commitments to volunteer. Consider working for a group that visits children’s hospitals, underprivileged children or a senior citizen’s center. Focusing your attention and energy on others instead of your own circumstances feeds the spirit.
A few years ago the Daily Show’s Ed Helms revealed a free, little known secret for fighting holiday blues. Skipping. It gets your blood flowing and it is impossible to take life too seriously when you’re skipping down the street. Sure the neighbors may think you’re nutty, but dare them to join you and they’ll understand.
There’s a lot of pressure to be joyful at this time of year. But for many people, the holidays are a time of remembrance for loved ones who are no longer here. Loneliness clouds the season for many people, magnifying depression. According to Psychology Today, symptoms of the “holiday blues” include headaches, sadness, anxiety, uneasiness, insomnia and intestinal problems.