Along with all the holiday cheers, there’s bound to be some holiday blues. I’ve already experienced a few bouts, so I had to take a refresher so the blues don’t make me a party popper and get in the way of having fun. Can’t miss that! After all, it’s only once a year.
First of all, know that it is absolutely NORMAL and OK to be down and blue during the holidays. It happens to a lot of people. How can it not, given the design of what we have to do; expected to do, and even be cheerful all the time? That’s a lot of pressure! So, don’t beat yourself up. You’re not alone.
Instead of resorting to unhealthy and negative behavior, and annihilating yourself for not being Mrs. Claus or Mary Poppins (they’re in therapy all year), follow these tips to beat the blues and actually enjoy some of the fun you put a lot of work in.
Let Healthy Food be Your Medicine
Let food be powerful medicine for your body and the mind. With the added holiday responsibilities, stress, and the cold weather, your whole body is vulnerable. So, consume a lot of medicinal foods like veggies, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and drink lots of water.
Eat mindfully; meaning chew slowly and focus on the task of eating rather than multitasking your poor mouth. Avoid meats and processed foods, which can cause hormonal & chemical imbalance, which can cause lethargy and mood shifts.
More than ever; you need to move and exercise. Physical activity can help with chemical balance and increase endorphins for positive and uplifting moods to combat the blues before it gets started.
Go for a walk, a run, take a dance class, or hit the gym. Regular exercise can boost your mood for up to 12 hours and it feels great.
Take Breaks & Walks
Even if it’s for a few minutes, give yourself breaks throughout the holiday to breathe, think, relax, and recharge. Removing yourself from a stressful environment for a while can be very helpful for everyone.
Take a walk, no matter how short and take in the sunshine and the outdoor. It’s known to have a tranquilizing effect; decreasing anxiety.
Write It Out
Let it all out by writing it all down. Whether in a journal or on a piece of paper, hand write all the things that are making you blue; your emotions, fears, worries, anger, people, etc. It’s a great form of release and therapy. Keeping your frustrations bottled up inside can harm you and others in many ways.
Talk to a psychotherapist. Regular therapy sessions has shown to be effective in reducing depression and negative symptoms. You can also talk to someone who actively listens and cares. During the holidays, my therapist is on speed dial. God bless her.
Don’t Forget to Sleep Well
Skimping on sleep can have serious physical and emotional consequences and you need to be well rested year round, including the holidays. Also, try to catch short naps, 15 to 30 minutes whenever you can. I often hide out in my car for a much needed nap and it does wonders.
I meditate everywhere during the holidays, including the airport, the grocery store, malls, waiting in line, etc. It helps us focus, rejuvenate and stay calm. Just 5-10 minutes a day is a good start.
Don’t Forget to Laugh
You need it more than ever. So find the humor in situations around you and watch or see things that make you laugh at least 5 minutes a day. My uncle in a giant reindeer sweater or my friend trying to cut a fruit cake from the 1800s always works for me.
Take a Media Break
Put down the cell phone and ipad and turn off the computer, TV, video games, etc., and go outside and sit, stand, or walk and give your eyes and mind a much needed break from radiation and all things blaring, and soak in some sunshine and blue skies and just be.
Helping others will get you out of the blues and your house. It also gets you out of your head to focus on someone else who may be less fortunate. In return, you’ll get a dose of gratitude and self esteem. On several occasions, I volunteered for a homeless and an animal shelters during Christmas to escape my family and my depression. It worked every time and I always got more out of it.
Focus on all the positive things during this holiday rather than the few negative things that could weigh you down. You still have control over your reactions. So place your precious energy on people who matter and have a blast!