Don’t let the holidays get you down

Not everyone feels happy and festive during Christmas season. We get that. The holidays can be hard. For those without big families or a bustling social life, days stretching on endlessly can make you want to curl up into a ball and just sleep away the season.

We’re not saying you need to be the life of the party. But you can enjoy the holidays with a few small adjustments to suit your state of mind.

Plan a small activity every other day

The thought of filling up your calendar chock full of parties can be overwhelming. No need for that. The American Heart Association says that doing things you enjoy is a natural stress-buster. Spend a day at home just puttering about, but the next day, get into your car and go for a drive. Or take yourself off to a local park and wile away a few hours reading under a tree. Being out in public and amongst others will do a lot to boost your morale. Alternate your days this way so it doesn’t feel all too much.

Tick off a major task

Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint your bedroom. Well what better time than now? The manual labour and fairly involving task will occupy your mind and body. Pick out paint samples, grapple with a paintbrush, and browse online for interesting themes and motifs. This absorbing task could actually grow into your festive season project and before you know it, you have a beautiful new room at the end of your holiday break.

Get your priorities straight

Meeting those year-end deadlines, planning the perfect holiday, catching up with your friends… the pressures of trying to do everything over the holidays is enough to send anyone into a tailspin. And, if you’re prone to depression, this added stress can take its toll on your mood. Instead of trying to do it all, set realistic goals about what you can and cannot do. Keep your expectations reasonable. Spread the joy out over the holiday season rather than placing the importance on one specific day or event. Most importantly, learn to say no. In doing so, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed.

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Feel your feelings

More and more, experts are advising the importance of feeling what you feel. The great philosopher Robert Frost famously said, “The only way out is through.” Apply this idea to your state of mind. Don’t run away from your feelings, don’t bury it under junk food or alcohol or other vices – feel what you feel, let it all out in whatever shape or form it comes. This could mean crying your heart out for an hour. Let it out and then go about your day. This is where the “distraction” comes in – think of that vent session as having ticked something off your list. Now you can go read a book, take a walk, or talk to a friend.

Hurting? Help someone else

Your feelings and state of mind are important. You feel the way you feel for many reasons. But nothing puts your own wellbeing more into perspective than helping someone else. Spare a thought for others who are going through the same. Maybe you’ve wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen all year. Well, now’s the time! Or take the time to go read with the elderly. Research shows that pets and animals in particular can do a lot to bring peace and calm to a depressive state. Head on over to your local SPCA and spend a day with some furry friends.

If you’re worried that you might be suffering from depression, why not chat to our doctors? They are ready with advice you can trust!

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