The holiday time of year is quickly approaching. During this time of year it is important to remember that while it should be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it is not for some people.

Some see the holiday season to be stressful, lonely, and just overall depressing. As we age our family traditions may change, we may suffer loss within our family, or financial situations may change. What was once known as a happy time for some people, has now switched roles. It is important to prepare for the upcoming season mentally, as soon as you notice that your outlook on the holiday season has changed.

Here are a few tips on how to cope during the holiday season:

  1. Avoid Excessive Rumination about how your life has changed: Thinking about how “different things are” sets the platform for a negative outlook. Instead of reflecting on how everything used to be, try changing your outlook by thinking about how you can make it better.
  2. Keep in mind that the holidays do not have to be perfect. The idea of a “perfect holiday” is portrayed all over the media. It is put into our minds that this is what the holidays should look like. While these staged family dinners look great, it is important to keep in mind that these are not real families. Your holidays are what you make of it and you should begin to lower you expectations of how the holidays should look. Whether you are spending it with family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, or even alone there is no textbook definition of a perfect holiday. You should spend the days in whatever way makes you happy. That should be perfect enough.
  3. Set a price limit. Do you always wind up spending way more than you should have on the holidays, struggling through the next couple of months to try to get your bank account back to where it was? This should never be the case, especially since this is not what the holidays are about. Set a limit on what you will spend and stick to it. Be realistic with your price range. Your bank account should not be completely emptied because of the gifts you had to buy.
  4. Volunteer. Why be alone on the holidays when you can give back to those who are in need? This can surprisingly give you the holiday cheer you are seeking. Volunteering can be a very uplifting and rewarding experience.
  5. Continue your normal health routine or change your poor health routine. The holidays are a stressful time of year, but it is important to not cope by binge eating or stopping your normal workout routine. Even with the holidays coming, it is never too late to start or even continue your current diet. There is no need to put on 5-10 lbs in one month because you let yourself binge any chance you can get. Eat everything in moderation and do not forget to exercise! If you do not do this, it will only contribute further to your stress and depression.
  6. Do not be afraid to reach out. If you find the holiday season to be completely overwhelming and you are unsure how to begin to cope at all, then you maybe should think about seeking professional help. There is nothing wrong with talking about your holiday depression or stress, as long as it is done in a healthy way.

For more information check out the sources below!

 

Sources: (1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201011/why-people-get-depressed-christmas. (2)https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544.

Photo Credits: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-ways-to-stop-the-holiday-blues.html

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