Preventing The Holiday Blues. Thanksgiving is next week and then Christmas and New Year’s. For most, this time of year is filled with fun and excitement. For others, it’s a time of loneliness and depression, and days filled with obligation, guilt, and doing things you really don’t want to do. Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, occurs because of the stressfulness of holiday events. Overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue may also cause it. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping and extra financial burden. Plus our recessionary economy may exacerbate many of us who are already stressed out or depressed.
4. Be careful about resentments from past holidays. Declare an amnesty with whichever family member or friend you are feeling past resentments.
5. Don’t expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. They NEVER are. You’re not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in the family is either.
6. Don’t have any plans for the Holidays? Volunteer to serve holiday dinner at a homeless shelter. Work with any number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children at the holidays. There are many opportunities for doing community service. No one can be depressed when they are doing community service.
7. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities: window-shop and look at the holiday decorations. Look at people’s Christmas lighting on their homes, take a trip to the mountais, etc.–the opportunities are endless.
8. If you drink, do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging and hangovers. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.
9. Give yourself a break; create time for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness: aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life. Laugh.
10. If the Holiday Blues become overwhelming and effects your normal level of functioning seeking counseling with a Therapist is always the right thing to do.