If you’re feeling holiday blues this season, our tips will help cheer you up!
The holiday season is in full swing. For many people, it’s a time of cheer and joy, but for others, it may be a time of sadness and depression. People often come down with “the holiday blues” around this time of year. If you feel like you’re experiencing “the holiday blues,” it can be overwhelming, especially if this is the first time you’ve experienced these feelings. Know that you’re not alone and that many people feel the same way you do.
Both men and women may experience the blues, but men often experience it differently than women. Depression in men can show up as physical symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, digestive disorders, and emotional symptoms such as irritability, anger, and a loss of interest in work, relationships, or hobbies. While the dark and often stormy weather of the Pacific North West won’t help, these tips might just cure your Holiday Blues!
Beat Your Holiday Blues!
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings and Act on Them
Men who are feeling down often don’t talk about it
There’s a prevailing idea in our culture that men shouldn’t talk about their feelings or express them. They tend to overlook the symptoms and “power through” or worse, develop unhealthy habits such as excessive smoking, drinking, gambling, or risky behaviors such as speeding and picking fights. To avoid this, first recognize that you’re feeling down or even depressed, then act on it in a healthy way. And, if appropriate, seek professional help.
2. Be Realistic About The Holidays
Let go of idealized holiday scenarios and make the most of your situation
That applies to both your energy and your budget. Don’t commit to going to all the parties you get invited to, hosting a big holiday bash, or gift shopping for everyone you know. Pace yourself, be selective, and get some rest. You don’t need to do it all if you’re feeling too drained.
3. Appreciate What You Have
Take a few moments and remember the best aspects of your life
Instead of thinking about what you’re missing and what you can’t do, focus on what you do have and what you can do. Take a few moments to legitimately appreciate what is good in your life. Maybe you have some great friends or a job you love. Even if you think of something small, like a happy memory or the taste of a good cup of coffee, it helps your mood to remember the great parts of life. It’s going to be hard to get out of your unhappy mindset if you are always focusing on what you don’t have.
4. Choose the Right Company
Spend time with people who really matter to you
Skip the large parties filled with small talk, and make plans with a few people that are close to you. Even if it’s less time than you’d want, make the most of it! For example, gather a few friends and play some ping-pong, shoot hoops, watch a game on TV, or even host a game night. You’ll feel less drained if you spend time with people who make you happy.
5. Do Fun Activities with Your Kids
Check the events calendars in your area and plan some activities
Make a plan to attend a sporting event or concert with your kids. Go see one of the many family-friendly community theater plays (for example, A Christmas Carol, The Christmas Revels, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever) or holiday movies. Consider joining a reading event, taking a walk, or driving through a different neighborhood or town to see the holiday lights. You can also take a drive to nearby mountains and build a snowman or enjoy some sledding. Washington has plenty of awesome activities for kids and adults alike!
6. Get Moving!
Go to the gym, go running or swimming, or consider trying yoga
Choose an activity you enjoy doing and make an effort to go even when you least feel like it. Have you ever noticed that after a workout you’re in a great state of mind? That’s because exercise releases endorphins which increase your overall mood. If exercising feels overwhelming, compromise to a shorter routine or gentler workout (less time, fewer laps, less challenging poses, etc), or plan to go with a friend to help hold you to it. Even doing a little bit of exercise can go a long way. Physical activity is a great way to work off negative energy and increase the body’s production of feel-good hormones.
7. Indulge A Little!
Treat Yourself to A Special Outing!
Consider getting a massage, a straight-razor shave, or a new haircut. Style yourself up: try smart new outfits–maybe buy a couple of new items or a new pair of shoes to refresh your look. Even a new pair of socks can make you feel like you are walking on clouds.
8. Go Exploring
Consider traveling to a new place or trying a new hobby
Brave the weather, get out of the house, and try something new: go on a hike, try a new nature trail, go skiing, or snowshoeing. If you would rather stay close to home, go to an art exhibit (for example Fire and Ice Festival), or take a cooking class.
9. Get Off Social Media
Spend less time online!
Social media can sometimes make us feel bad around the holidays. Seeing status updates from happy families having a fun holiday season while you’re sitting at home moping can give you a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). To cure your FOMO, stop checking every comment on Facebook and every post on Instagram. You won’t be missing out! Use the extra time you’ll have to detox from social media and be social in person. Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Or better still, get together in person. And when you’re with them, give them your full attention and put your phone away!
10. Give Back To Your Community
Choose one or more ways to help others
For example, donate your children’s gently used toys to a thrift store, church, or community organization. Make a food basket and give it to a neighbor who’s going through a tough time. Offer to watch a friend’s children while they get their shopping done, or offer to help an elderly person with their grocery shopping. Consider doing a different random act of kindness every day: hold the door for someone, let a car out in or through traffic, let another shopper get ahead of you in the check-out line, give up your seat on public transit, etc. Doing nice deeds for others can be an instant mood booster for both you and the person you helped!
Meditation is for everyone
It’s actually a common practice that has numerous health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, increased mood and improved concentration. If you want to try meditation, find a quiet, comforting place. Get comfortable and take some time to decompress and let go of what’s no longer serving you. Breathe and just be. Perhaps you could do this in a place of worship: the one in your neighborhood, or the one you pass every day on your way to the store. Or, you can just find a quiet place in your home. There are also meditation classes and plenty of phone apps to assist you in learning to meditate effectively. Consider joining a local meditation group or downloading a meditation app on your phone.
If you struggle with serious and continuous symptoms of depression, reach out to your healthcare provider.
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