Are you experiencing the holiday blues? Symptoms include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, agitation, sadness, intestinal problems and unnecessary conflict with family and friends. Stressfulness of holiday events cause mood changes and anxiety. Overdrinking, overeating and fatigue cause stress. Holiday demands such as shopping, cooking, travelling, houseguests, family reunions and office parties add to our stress. Economic issues also add to stress and depression. So what can you do to beat the holiday blues?
Be reasonable with your schedule. Don’t overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion. This makes people cranky, irritable and depressed. Organize your time. Set priorities and stick to them. Practice good time management. You control your schedule. Remember you’re only human and can only do so much.
Live within your means. Don’t overextend yourself financially. You don’t need to buy gifts that you can’t afford that probably no one even wants. Instead of giving too many expensive gifts, give more meaningful gifts. You can plan more economical, easier gift giving with your family like we’re doing this year. Every member drew 2 names out of a hat and are only buying gifts for them. You don’t need to travel if you can’t afford it. You don’t need to host houseguests if you can’t afford them. You don’t need to throw expensive parties that you can’t afford that probably won’t be appreciated anyway. You don’t need to satisfy the wants and needs of others to your own detriment. That’s codependency. It hurts you and possibly others.
Get in touch with and accept your feelings. It’s ok to feel alone, sad, frustrated, angry and fearful during the holidays. Identify what you’re feeling. Do your feelings have to do with today or are they unresolved issues from the past? Many of us have unresolved issues from the past. Past losses, unresolved grief and contrast between then and now. There are many losses; loss of loved ones, loss of relationships, loss of meaning and purpose in one’s life, loss of health, loss of material things and loss of status. Maybe you still need to work through the past, mourn losses and go through the grieving process. You’ll feel better on the other side. Do you have disappointment with present circumstances, contrast between holiday joy and the reality of your present life and a sense of loneliness and isolation? Accept what is and live in the present. Do you have fear of future loss? Remember we don’t control the future and most of what we fear usually doesn’t happen.
Let go of past resentments. It’s said that resentments are like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. The main person it hurts is you. You can only control yourself. You can’t control others. Don’t incite or participate in conflict over past resentments. Avoid conflict. Don’t say the wrong thing around family or friends or keep your distance if need be. Set boundaries. Forgiveness is a good remedy.
Let go of expectations. It’s said expectations are premeditated resentments. Our expectations are inversely proportional to our serenity. Remember, you also can’t control people, places and things. Let go of control. Don’t expect the holidays to be like they were in the past. You’re different and so are others. Accept the holidays for what they are and make the best of them.
Most people are overscheduled, over planned and overwhelmed during the holidays. Maybe you’re under scheduled and under planned. Maybe you don’t have a lot of family, friends or work activities. Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to stay busy and feel useful. There are numerous opportunities for community service. You could serve meals at homeless shelters, work with the underprivileged or visit nursing homes or hospitalized children. It’s hard to de depressed and not feel grateful if you’re helping others.
Minimize your alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption exacerbates depression and anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant. People with depression shouldn’t drink alcohol. Don’t get carried away with all of the holiday parties by drinking too much. Also, you’ll avoid hangovers.
Give yourself a break. Schedule time for yourself to do things you want to do and take care of your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Go to see a movie, get together with good friends, speak to an old friend on the phone or just do nothing and relax. Take a trip you’d like to take. Read a good book. Exercise, yoga, massage and meditation are all helpful activities. They’ll help calm you down and give you a better perspective on what’s important in your life.
Remember you can control your attitude. It’s said attitude is everything. Abraham Lincoln said a person can be as happy as they make up their mind to be. The choice is yours. The glass is either half full or half empty. The sky is either partly sunny or partly cloudy. Have an attitude of gratitude. How can we not be grateful for all of the blessings that we have. We have our life, health, hope and all of our other blessings. Make a gratitude list of all of the things that you have to be grateful for. It’s hard to be depressed with an attitude of gratitude. Keep the holidays in perspective. It’s just another day.
Now you how to beat the holiday blues. It’s hard to have the holiday blues if you do what I’ve suggested. Are you doing them? Why not? The choice is up to you. Don’t you want to have a happy holidays? Don’t be a victim of the holidays. Take control of your life! Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays.