Sun, Dec 11 2011

Healthy Holidays: 7 Ways To Cope With The Holiday Blues

5 years ago by Lena Rakijian

This time of year is all about cheer, but for some, the holidays bring about feelings of loneliness and stress. When depression starts knocking on your holiday-wreathed door, it’s important to have a few coping strategies to get you through the season.

According to a 2005-2006 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 6% of Americans above the age of 12 are living with depression. If holiday shopping, social gatherings, and cocktail parties invokes apprehension and melancholy versus excitement and joy–you are not alone. The increasing demands brought about by shopping, parties, and gifts may cause feelings of tension. During the holidays, depression may be heightened due to stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, and financial constraints.

If the holidays typically take an emotional toll on your well being, here are some prevention and coping tips to get you through the new year:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If you are dealing with grief or sadness from loss or any other form, acknowledge those feelings. It is absolutely okay to feel sadness and take time for yourself to come to terms with those feelings. Happiness is not created overnight.
  2. Reach out. If you feel isolated, seek out forms of companionship. Whether that means getting help, joining a community organization, or volunteering. Connect yourselves with others in a positive way.
  3. Appreciate your uniqueness. Identify your strengths. Write down what you love about yourself and celebrate the unique individual you are.
  4. Get busy. Get involved this holiday season. Planned activities help cope with holiday depression and give you something positive to focus on. Join a holiday sport league, take a knitting class and make holiday scarves, or volunteer. With scheduled activities, meetings, events – you have something to look forward to.
  5. Give back from the heart. The holidays are a wonderful time to give back to those who are less fortunate and are in need. Feeling a sense of accomplishment from giving a hand to others is a great feeling. Research philanthropic organizations in your community and volunteer your time.
  6. Surround yourself with people you love. Don’t isolate yourself from your family and friends. Allow them to be there for you and share the joy of the season. Choose to spend your time with the people who make you feel good, those who make you laugh, and the people you can be yourself around.
  7. Be realistic and fulfill a realistic goal. The holidays don’t have to be perfect. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. This is a time to gather with those you love to celebrate and appreciate life and the people in it. Keep it simple and prevent added stress.

This holiday season I challenge you to commit to being your own best friend and advocate. Accept yourself, block out negative self-criticisms, and create realistic attainable goals. Shake the holiday blues by providing support and comfort to yourself through engaging in positive activities and finding a community, organization, or family and friends to create a happy holiday environment.

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