Jovial Christmas music is blasting, decorations adorn every street corner, you’re keeping up with family traditions, and you have more party invitations than you can accept — so why do you feel so low? Some of the most common reasons during this time of the year are associated with stress, an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia (especially after a life change or loss of a loved one), loneliness, overindulgence, and having an unrealistic expectation about what the season can bring. Here are some ways to keep yourself in check while still partaking of the natural gifts that come to you this time of the year.
1. Don’t Overextend Yourself: Obligations abound this time of the year, but don’t be afraid to say, “no,” whether that means a friend, family, or work-related engagement. Self-care is necessary in order to retain both physical and mental health. Stay firm on your decision.
2. Avoid Overindulgence: We’re not just talking about parties or dinners. If you have a tendency to feel blue, don’t keep alcohol in your abode unless you’re absolutely sure you can control your consumption. Limit yourself to one or two drinks at social engagements and be sure to drink a solid glass of water (eight ounces) in between — especially if you overdo it. Note that excessive drinking can lead to amplified feelings of negativity and depression. When it comes to noshing, fill up on healthy snacks prior to a party so that you’re less tempted to dive into the mini quiche and creamy spinach dip. Overeating/drinking (which is associated with weight gain) can exacerbate symptoms of depression.
3. Get Enough Shuteye: Try to go to bed at a specific time eachnight. Being well-rested can improve your mood and make it easier to take on whatever life has in store.
4. Be Open To Change: You may have an image of what you think the holidays should look like, but in reality, it may be too difficult to attain. Instead of holding on to the past, allow new traditions to present themselves.
5. Don’t Isolate Yourself: Avoid spending the holidays solo by accepting dinner invitations and/or inviting friends or family together for a dinner party at your place — the more the merrier. Create festive ambiance with lively decorations such as candles, mood lighting, a real tree, fresh greenery, and twinkle lights. If you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, this is all the more reason to spend time with those who are close to you.
6. Get Moving: Even a quick 10-minute jaunt can get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins, so don’t rest on your laurels.
7. Stay Busy After A Recent Breakup: When you’re nursing an aching heart, being alone can feel like the world is ending. Instead of sitting at home depressed, fill up your calendar with activities such as social group outings (online or community-based), and/or scheduled events with friends and family.