The holiday season should be a joyous and celebratory time for families. It can either bring out the best in people or the worst. During the holiday season is when the suicide rate increases, not only for the military and those deployed away from family, but also with those who suffer quietly from depression. If you suspect someone is depressed, reach out to them. Let them know they are loved and cared for. If they are threatening or attempting to harm themselves or anyone else, call 911 for their safety and your own.
Here are 8 ways to beat the holiday blues:
1. Create your own image of what Christmas looks like to you:
Sometimes we think of the “image” of Christmas that we have in our heads. Depending on our situation at the time, we may or may not be able to bring that image to life. We may remember growing up with tons of decorations, presents pouring out from under the tree, tons of food, etc. What if your finances don’t allow you to recreate that? Will that ruin your holidays? It shouldn’t. Do what you can, don’t try and keep up with the Joneses. If you can only do a simple meal, do it. If there’s no Christmas tree, fine. If presents aren’t pouring out from under the Christmas tree like the floor threw them up, that’s okay too. Do what works for you and your family, and celebrate each other. After all, the important part is quality time with the family and making new memories.
2. Pour into a hobby
Is there a hobby that you’ve been putting to the side, or haven’t had time to indulge in? The holidays usually slow down a little and give people much needed time. Use that time to indulge in your hobby(ies). Enjoy the things that interest you, and you can even spend time with the family doing it. Do you enjoy scrapbooking? Get the kids together and make scrapbooks. Enjoy music? Grab some instruments and make music together. Spend that time enjoying yourself and your family.
3. Give back
Instead of focusing on ourselves this holiday season, which we often do, we can use this time to give back to those less fortunate. Normally I have my kids choose toys they no longer play with, but are in good condition and pack them up to give them to kids who don’t have everything they have. It reminds them that they are indeed blessed, and not to take it for granted. They feel good giving back as well, and it becomes a habit.
4. Spend time with family and/or friends
This one should be self-explanatory. If possible, spend time with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company. For many, they are far away from family. If you can, spend the time with close friends. If neither is around you, then honey, enjoy and celebrate yourself! You are important as well!
5. Get some fresh air!
Yes, it’s cold! Bundle up and get some fresh air and sunshine. Staying indoors can contribute to the holiday blues. Getting outside for fresh air and good old Vitamin D from the sun is important even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood. It’ll change your mood.
6. Holiday favorites in effect
Put on your favorite dresses. Play your favorite holiday songs. Cook your favorite meals. Celebrate the way YOU want to celebrate. Take the time to focus on you.
7. Don’t spread yourself too thin
Of course wanting to spend time with your family is a good thing, but sometimes trying to do too much of a good thing can backfire as well. Running from one family’s house to another can be a lot, especially when there’s a time frame you’re trying to stick to. Be ok with only being able to make it to what you can without adding the extra stress. The holidays are about being able to enjoy yourself, not stress yourself out.
8. Shift your perspective
Focus on the good of the this holiday season. Don’t focus on splurging and going broke, focus on family, friends, giving back to those less fortunate, and just enjoying this season.
If you find yourself struggling, please seek professional help. There is no shame, you are too important not to. If you feel like hurting yourself or someone else, please seek professional help.