Health & Wellness
DECEMBER: BEATING THE HOLIDAY BLUES
As the old song goes — Christmas is ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ Although that is true for most, for some — the holiday season can trigger additional stress and fatigue related to increased expectations, finances, and family interaction — which typically resolves once the holidays are over. However, there are other conditions that can persist past the holiday season and may require more intervention to resolve.
There is Hope: How to Turn it Around
Here are five ways to help combat the holiday blues, from Psychology Today:
1. Stay Active: Cold and dark weather can make us drowsy and discourage us from being physically active. A lack of energy can be a drain on your mood, so to counter this state, it’s important to engage in exercise or other physical activities that release endorphins and boost your energy levels.
2. Stay on Your Own Side: Be wary of self-critical thoughts that tend to crop up during the holiday season and end of the year. Negative thoughts make up your ‘critical inner voice.’ This inner enemy evolves out of painful early life experiences, in which we internalized destructive attitudes. As adults, we act out these self-punishing attitudes by listening to our critical inner voice.
3. ‘Choose’ Your Family Time: Family time may sound relaxing and joyful, but not all holiday visits are filled with warmth and affection. Time spent with our families can reactivate old dynamics and stir up old emotional reactions. Don’t feel guilty to choose the time you spend with your family, and remember, that the time you do spend with them is likely to arouse past emotions. If we go into seeing our family aware of our reactions, we can make conscious choices to differentiate ourselves from old dynamics and behaviors that lead us to feel bad.
4. Keep a Balance: Many of us have obligations over the holidays from every end of the spectrum, from the distant relatives we visit to the odd hours we work. It’s essential to be considerate of yourself. Although, it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of shopping lists and dinner menus, it’s important to stay close to your emotions. Design a “holiday-of-choice,” in which you decide who you spend your time with and where you go. Even if this means setting aside one night to have dinner with friends or to spend a quiet evening with your partner or spouse, it’s important to engage in activities that make you feel in touch with your true self.
No matter what is causing our “winter blues,” it is important to stay on our own side and have faith that these moods can and will pass. To fight these battles, we must believe in our own resilience, in our ability to tolerate pain and to overcome the inevitable hurdles life brings. Strength to YOU this holiday season!