Source: Mayo Clinic.org
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays.
Learn to recognize your holiday triggers so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy.
- Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.
- Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Don’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. You can donate to a charity in someone’s name, or give homemade gifts.
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks Get plenty of sleep, and Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
- Take a breather: Go on a walk at night to stargaze, listen to soothing music, get a message, or curl up with a good book.
- Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.