The holiday season is fast approaching. Though I love the holidays because of Christmas lights, music, storefront decorations, and the whole ambiance of the holiday season, I do get the blues.
My husband and I spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together with our three cats. There have been times we have spent with family members, but with time, it has become too expensive. So, we spend it alone.
The holidays can be a difficult time for many individuals, such as childless couples, people who have lost loved ones, singles, children of divorced parents, or unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves. It can be a source of stress, sadness, and mental exhaustion.
Here are some positive and mindful actions to help with the holiday blues, which I have adopted, and my clients.
Get off Social Media
I will be honest with you; this is a hard one. I get off social media throughout the holiday season because scrolling through all the pictures, social gatherings, and family posts of everyone with a picture-perfect smile makes me feel bad about myself because I don’t have a picture-perfect family and life. Life is not perfect, and most postings you see on social media are a facade.
If you can’t go cold turkey, limit your time for your mental health. During this time, think about what you are most grateful for and enjoy the things in your life. Also, decorate your place with plenty of holiday lights and listen to music that brings you joy.
Studies have shown that people who get outdoors more often are happier, healthier, cognitively, and physically stronger. Furthermore, you can decrease stress and cortisol levels, promote feel-good hormones [serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine], and increase cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
The most inexpensive and easiest way to improve your health and wellness is to get outdoors and enjoy Mother Earth while walking, biking, or running. I challenge you to spend at least 15 minutes a day and one hour on the weekends.
150 – minutes (2.5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity is recommended for most adults. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can meet this recommendation by brisk walking for 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
Maintain a log of what you are experiencing and feeling. Being mindful of your feelings and events going on in your life can help you change the direction of your situation, which could make you feel depressed or anxious.
I’ve been writing in a journal about my experiences for years, especially during the holiday season, because it helps manage my holiday blues.
When you see what you have written in black and white, you become more aware of what your triggers are and how it affects your mental health. In learning, you can learn how to adjust your environment to better your overall mental health.
Volunteer Your Time
During the holidays, living in isolation can be detrimental to the brain, and this experience could lead to depression, anxiety, or suicide for some young adults and adults. If you don’t have family to spend time with, volunteer your time for a cause.
Giving back is the best thing you can do for your mental health. Because everyone has a story, and you may realize your story is not as unique as you think. Why not share your story with someone? Because you might transform that person’s life, or they may learn they are not alone in the world.
There is nothing new about the ideas I have discussed in this article. What I want to express is that you are not alone and to provide a checklist of positive actions that you can take to prevent the holiday blues that have helped me and my clients. If you need to talk to someone, call 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline. Remember, you are never alone.
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Healthy 365 Life.