5 Ways to Chase Away the Holiday Blues
The holiday season can sometimes be less merry than we want. Hosting and attending parties can seem like unwelcome pressure and work. Family problems can become magnified. Memories of departed loved ones often surface, bringing sadness rather than joy.
Recognizing that many of us need to keep holiday stress from getting out of hand, here are five ways to make the period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day a little brighter and more fun.
Walk away from the dessert table
Eating too much sugar on a regular basis disrupts your metabolism and irritates your digestive tract. When your body’s systems stop operating correctly, you can get depressed. What this means is that instead of serving as rewards or comfort foods, desserts can produce effects opposite of those intended.
Save sweets for truly special occasions, maybe just one day a week when not celebrating anything in particular. Limit yourself to small portions of your favorite treats and eat slowly. It’s amazing how good food tastes when consumed mindfully.
Turn your back to the bar
Never use wine or beer specifically to get yourself out of a bad mood or to put yourself in a good one. Drinking too much alcohol doesn’t turn you into a talented dancer, a brilliant conversationalist or a hunk of burning love. What it does do is cloud your judgment, impair your coordination, dehydrate you and increase your levels of anxiety and sadness.
Leave events early
Holiday parties and events can be impossible to avoid, no matter how much attending large parties and mingling in crowded, congested rooms might make you irritable during the holidays. Your boss insists, a family member needs support, or your spouse really wants you at his or her side.
Fulfill your obligations, but never feel you have to stay until the very end of a get-together. Reduce your stress by putting in an appearance and exiting quickly but politely. So what if you’re the first one out the door or if you only see half the play. The world won’t end, but more importantly you won’t be miserable.
Do an anonymous good deed
Nothing warms the heart as much as making someone else happy. Too often, we get so wrapped up in our own troubles we forget that everyone has problems. Do a good deed and see how quickly your thoughts change from sad to glad.
On your way out of a restaurant, pay the bill for another diner. Buy a cup of coffee for the third person in line behind you, or leave a gift card on a co-worker’s desk. Those small acts go a long way in spreading good cheer. The recipient will be grateful and possibly spread that happiness by doing their own good deed.
Know that feeling a little sad sometimes is OK
Don’t fake holiday cheer. Not being in a good mood during the holiday season doesn’t make you a bad person. When you’re not in a great mood, guess what? A whole bunch of other people also feel down despite the big smiles they might force onto their faces. Acknowledge your actual feelings and let yourself be unhappy from time to time. If you start feeling seriously depressed, however, seek help. There’s no shame in being treated for a medical problem.