How to Beat the Holiday BluesThe holidays are supposed to be a time of cheer and joy, but for some of us, it can be quite a different story.

The holidays can be a stressful, chaotic time with lots of shopping, cooking, and parties, which can cause some to become very overwhelmed, anxious, or even depressed.

Others may get the holiday blues because they are lonely and miss their loved ones who are no longer with them.

Some may get down because they don’t have a lot of money to spend on presents or decorations.

Fortunately, there are many ways to lift your spirits and help you cope with the stress and anxiety of the holiday season.

Forget the “Ideal Christmas” – Many people create a picture in their minds of what the “ideal Christmas” should look like – you know, the Norman Rockwell picture of the perfect family gathered around the wonderfully decorated Christmas tree, opening lots of presents, and their faces are full of laughter and cheer. Give yourself a break and realize nobody is perfect – it’s okay that you aren’t perfect and your family isn’t perfect.

Sometimes we try to do too much during the holidays and that can overwhelm us:

  • Don’t commit to cooking that seven-course holiday dinner.
  • Don’t invite a million people over to your home for this year’s holiday party, or better yet, don’t have one at all.
  • Tell your children instead of buying a ton of Christmas presents this year, you’re only going to purchase a few items. Start a new tradition and exchange homemade gifts.

Christmas should be about spending time with our loved ones without the pressure having to cook the perfect meal, buying the most expensive presents, or hosting the biggest party. Keep things simple and enjoy a peaceful time with your friends and family.

Help Others – helping those who are less fortunate can bring you joy and a sense of purpose.

For example:

  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter.
  • Cook meals for needy families.
  • Buy Christmas presents for underprivileged children.
  • Practice a random act of kindness – open a door for someone, smile at a stranger, buy someone a glass of tea, give Christmas cards to people you don’t know, help an elderly person get in their car or across the street, give up your seat on the bus or train, rake a neighbor’s yard, or babysit a single mother’s child so she can go Christmas shopping.

Focusing on others, instead of ourselves, can help lift our spirits.

Visit Loved Ones – spend time with your family and friends during the holidays.

  • Attend church with your loved ones.
  • Invite a few friends or family members over for a quiet, peaceful Christmas dinner. Ask some of them to help you prepare the meal so you don’t become stressed out by doing all the cooking yourself.
  • Take a day trip to visit friends who live out of town.
  • Go on a tour with family members to see all the holiday lights in the neighborhood.
  • Attend holiday parties and events you are invited to, but keep in mind that you can’t go to them all. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
  • Babysit your grandchildren or nieces and nephews because children can bring a lot of joy to us during this time of the year.
  • Reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

Decorate Your Home – surrounding yourself with beautiful decorations can help get you in the holiday spirit. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your house pretty for the holiday season.

  • Decorate your Christmas tree with homemade decorations. Your kids, grandchildren, or the neighborhood kids can make special ornaments for you. Use popcorn and cranberries to string garland. And you can also use the holiday cards you received from family and friends to help decorate your tree.
  • Ask a friend or family member to help you hang up lights on the exterior of your house.
  • Play joyful Christmas carols and holiday music at your home and office. You can use Pandora to play your favorite Christmas music.
  • Display all the holiday cards you received throughout your home and workplace.
  • You can also use pine cones, holly, and fruit to decorate your home for the holidays.

Exercise – taking long, peaceful walks, riding your bike around the neighborhood several times each morning or afternoon, or doing stretching exercises can help you beat the blues.

It’s also a good idea to get plenty of rest and eat healthy as possible during the holidays. Sometimes getting out of our workout routine can make us cranky, so stick to your exercise schedule as much as possible. Also, eating too much sugar or fattening food can make us feel sick or lazy, so limit those items during the holidays.

Focus on Positive Things – don’t watch too much news during the holidays. Sometimes news can be very depressing during this time of the year.

  • Stay away from negative people.
  • Focus on your blessings.
  • Attend church services.
  • Read your favorite novels or poems.
  • Watch your favorite holiday movies or television shows.
  • Play lots of uplifting holiday music.
  • Create new holiday traditions with family and friends.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Have a karaoke night.
  • Play games and work puzzles.
  • Stay away from sad or negative conversations with friends and family.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol because it can actually make you feel more depressed.

We hope these tips help you beat the holiday blues and have a fun, peaceful, and relaxing holiday season.

For more information about depression or anxiety, contact Aspire Hospital today.