Health Beat the Holiday Blues

Published on December 17th, 2012 | by AZHG

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Beat the Holiday Blues in 12 Easy Steps

OK, so we have heard a lot of bad news lately, and the holidays are around the corner. There are a myriad of reasons to feel depressed during the holidays. For one thing, the insurmountable problems of the world are discussed everywhere we turn.  Also, many people feel stressed and old memories surface about painful family relationships or events. At this time of the year, many people feel that they haven’t progressed or met their goals. Others are dealing with financial pressures or loneliness.

How can you beat the holiday blues? Here are 12 suggestions:

  1. Curb drinking. Yes, we know that drinking is part of the holidays: eggnog, parties, hot toddies. But if you think about it, you and many people you know were probably adversely affected by alcohol in some way while you were growing up, and many times this surfaces during the holidays. Alcohol actually makes one more depressed, not the other way around. Choose to curb or stop drinking completely and you will have renewed self esteem. You will feel much better about yourself and your own actions. Yes, you can do it.
  2. Curb sugar.  Yes, we know that there are cookies and treats everywhere, but sugar causes a spike and then drop in your blood sugar levels.  This can have an effect on your mood.  Keep your mood at an even keel by eating a healthy diet and that limits or excludes white flour, sugar, and fried food.  Acquire a taste for fresh vegetables, fruit, and grilled meat. Learn how to just say “no, thank you” when a plate of sweets is presented to you.  If you lack self-control with sweets, don’t buy them, and keep them out of your view.
  3. Choose to feel gratitude first thing in the morning.  Watch your mind and how it wants to reiterate all the bad things that happened or how your life is not the way it should be. Put one foot on the floor and say “thank” and put the other foot on the floor and say “you”. For what? Just say it, then think it throughout the day.
  4. Reach out to others with an email, phone call, or volunteer at local social services agencies or a church. If you can, help feed the homeless, help gather toys for kids, or help with Veterans. Check your local paper and seek out ways to help others, or join a cause. This will take your focus off of yourself and make you feel more grateful for what you have. Check your local paper for organizations that need help and start by donating a small, limited amount of time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. This will take your focus off of yourself and make you feel more grateful for what you have.
  5. Do something just for fun. We live in a fast-paced, hard-working society. Go to a free community concert or event, visit an art gallery, or take a walk and look at the Christmas lights. Allow the “adult” in you to take care of the “child” in you by letting yourself enjoy life and have fun in simple, small ways.
  6. If you are really suffering and feel that depression has taken control over you, find your favorite, closest relative, friend, or clergy who you know will understand and ask them if they have some time to talk privately and confidentially. Many times, just talking it out with someone you trust will work wonders.
  7. If this is not an option, search for therapists in your community and make an appointment, call 911, or call a crisis number to talk to someone ASAP. Search in Google for “Crisis Hotline” for your state.
  8. Visit this web address: http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/crisis_hotlines.htm and contact the agency that deals with your most pressing problem.
  9. Try rise to a higher place and assume an adult role with yourself and others. Many times, people you expect to act gracefully — your parents, boss, supervisor, neighbors — are having problems themselves. Pause, and try not to react to others who aren’t behaving at their best. Call 911 if you feel afraid about the actions or behaviors of others, and avoid places and situations where people are drinking or using drugs.
  10. Rest, take a break, or make your life easier. Treat yourself to a positive, feel-good movie, put on your pajamas, make some popcorn, and curl up on the couch with a blanket. (Remember, drinking alcohol causes your mind to regress into feeling victimized and sorry for yourself, and is not a viable solution to curbing the holiday blues.)
  11. Take some time to have silence. If you live in a city, go to a cathedral or museum and let yourself sit quietly. If you live in the country, bundle up and take a walk, make a fire in the fireplace, watch the birds, or sit in front of a window. Connect with nature, and try to connect with the deep aspect of yourself that is uniquely you.

Each small step you take towards tackling your holiday blues will make you feel more confident that you can handle the holidays. Remember, you are not alone and many people who feel just like you do are reaching out. Crisis agencies understand the holiday blues, so don’t be afraid or ashamed to call a crisis hotline. Finally, be really, really kind to yourself and really, really kind to others.

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