Contributed by Info Guru Terri Wallace
The holidays are full of stress—so many expectations and demands and responsibilities!
It is easy to let a season of joy become a source of anxiety and depression but, instead of sinking deeper into the holiday doldrums, try some of these tips to beat the holiday blues.
Hidden under the layers of sweaters and leggings and woolens, it is easy to nestle down for the winter and leave lunges and crunches for springtime. But exercise is more than just something to cram in your schedule in a mad flurry to get your body “beach ready.” Exercise, especially yoga, also releases endorphins that create a sense of well-being—which is especially helpful considering how many family events you will be expected to attend over the holidays.
As the days grow colder and the daylight hours grow shorter, it can be difficult to find time to feel the sun shine on your face; you are more likely to feel the warm glow of a computer screen than the sun’s rays. Take time to bundle up and take a walk at lunch, or meander around the block before making dinner. Sit on a park bench, feed the squirrels, and soak up a bit of vitamin D while you remind yourself that there is more to the holidays than artificial trees draped in artificial lights. Invest in a light-therapy lamp if the gloom of winter is really getting to you.
8. Eat Right
Cakes, fudge, cookies, eggnog, wassail, pecan pie, and all the holiday foods can add to your waistline—heavy foods can also leave you feeling lethargic and less than festive. While it is fine to splurge, make sure to keep your regular meals healthy and balanced in order to keep the holiday crankies at bay. Ask for fruit gift baskets instead of less healthy alternatives.
7. Adequate Sleep
In a season filled with visiting friends and family, parties and get-togethers, and too many commitments, it is more important than ever to make time for adequate sleep. Even if it means declining invitations, make rest a priority – treat yourself with extra comfortable, warm bedding – during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
6. Make Time for “Me Time”
Don’t get so focused on gifts for others, food for others, holiday cards for others, and parties for others that you forget to take some time for yourself. It is hard to enjoy the holidays when you are sacrificing you own needs in order to fulfill an over-ambitious holiday schedule. Take a walk, rent a movie, or take a nap…just make sure to take some time for yourself.
5. Get Gussied Up
It is easy to slip a little further into a wallowing pool of self-pity when you haven’t bathed in three days, and your house is filled with half-empty take-out containers. Rouse yourself off the sofa and hit the shower. Put on clean clothes. Real clothes—no sweatpants or yoga pants. Sometimes just the act of getting yourself pulled-together can help clear the mental fog and create a sense of accomplishment.
4. Acknowledge the Empty Space
The holidays can be a painful reminder of loved-ones who are no longer living. The empty place at the table can seem to swallow all the joy out of the holidays. One way to keep the empty chair from taking over your holidays is to acknowledge it. Remember those you have lost over the years. Reminisce about how Grandpa Joe used to spike the eggnog when no one was looking, or how Aunt Myrtle used to slip the kids extra pieces of fudge when their parents were having coffee. Keeping their memories alive can help keep the blues at bay.
3. Allow Yourself an Escape
Plan some mini-vacations. Check out some books from your local library, and escape for twenty minutes every night. Visit Hogwarts, or Narnia, or Middle Earth and forget about the bills, the unwrapped gifts, and the leaking roof for a little while.
2. Savor Your Friendships
Make sure to make time for friends outside of the office party, or shopping expeditions, or errand running. Arrange for time to talk, time to listen, time to keep some normality in a season filled with saccharine sweet holiday TV specials, over-indulgence, and commercialism. And don’t forget to make time for your furry friends, too. Animals can help bring a sense of calm when life gets hectic.
One of the best ways to keep things in perspective is to help others who are having a rougher time of it than you are. Whether you volunteer at a hospital, a nursing home, a homeless shelter, or an animal rescue, by setting aside your own day-to-day drudgery for a bit and helping others you might just realize that you have a lot to be grateful for, after all.