Whether you’re prone to depression, grieving a loss or just feeling a bit “bah-hum-bug,” a season focused on joy can be tough. Here are some tips for surviving the holidays:
Keep Yourself Healthy
Maintaining healthy habits is essential to treating and preventing “the blues.”
Heading to bed on time and avoiding lengthy post-party naps is crucial.
Find ways to work in physical activity even if you can’t hit the gym..
Consider partnering with someone who shares your healthy goals so that you can encourage each other to slow down on the egg nog and get some sleep.
Manage Your Mood
Give some thought to what normally helps you through a rough time. While this season may seem to amplify things, for most people, doing “what works” any other day of the year is still the best strategy. You may need help remembering what works so consider keeping a note with your “survival strategies” on hand.
Plan ahead. When you’re stressed or upset, what takes your mind off of it for a few minutes? Consider carrying around something to read or a small game. What helps you to relax? Maybe you can build a playlist with your favorite songs or plan to step outside for some fresh air.
When you’re preparing to leave home, remember your survival strategies and pack accordingly. If you take any medications or use other things to maintain your health and mood, make sure you have it.
Don’t avoid everything; make an effort to participate. While it’s reasonable to say “no” to some things, don’t feed your bad mood by cutting yourself off from everything. You might not feel comfortable socializing, but you can find creative ways to keep from becoming isolated. For example, you can suggest playing a board game at the party, offer to take the hosts’ dog for a walk, or help keep the little ones entertained.
Remind yourself to take a break if you need it, and try to not be so hard on yourself.
Cut Yourself (and Others) Some Slack
Financial and social pressures are tricky any time of the year, but can seem even more demanding during the holidays. Cut yourself some slack and try to be realistic.
If finances are tight, create a budget and prioritize where your money is going. Consider low-cost ways to celebrate, such as homemade gifts, giving your services (babysitting, yard work, etc.), or making contributions to a meal /outing instead of buying gifts.
Balance social obligations—it’s okay to excuse yourself from some activities. Dealing with challenging family members? Try to handle the situation in a way that allows you stick to your values but is fair to the other person. Think about whether you’ll still feel okay about your decisions next month and proceed accordingly.
Be flexible! If you take on too much, hand off some responsibility to others—and even if they can’t do the job quite as good as you, choose to roll with it.
Consider breaking “tradition”. That might mean spending the day with friends instead of family, having pizza instead of an extravagant feast, or heading to the movie theater instead of exchanging gifts. Do what feels right for right now.
by Megan Vinco