Holidays are generally a time of fun, laughter, gifts, and spending more time with your family and friends. At the same time, there are many people who are not looking forward to holidays due to not having a significant other in their lives, or are distant from their family members. This may lead to depression or anxiety. Furthermore, estranged family relationships can be tested when family members who barely tolerate each other are brought together under one roof and need to “play nice.” Does this sound familiar? Don’t despair, with some simple rules and adjustments holidays can be fun even with those challenges.
First of all, nobody likes to be alone during holidays. “Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that, as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”
- Be aware of what triggered “holiday blues” in the past. Going too much down the memory lane if we have lost loved ones can be challenging. Focus on the good memories and not the lack of. Honor people who have left and have an attitude of gratitude. They would want you to be happy.
- Seek support. If you don’t have close family and friends, maybe you can bond with others in the same situation. There are organizations and groups for singles that host events all year long. Check a local newspaper or find a social group on “meetup.com.” Maybe you can volunteer and help people who are less fortunate. This will make you feel better as it puts things into a perspective.
- Even though it is not easy to avoid all the temptations, indulge a bit and yet maintain a healthy diet and daily exercise program. Exercise more if you had that extra slice of cake or apple pie. In this way, you will not accumulate unwanted pounds that will lead to frustrations after holidays are gone.
- Manage stress. Listen more. Observe. Use this time for reflection and connect with nature. Meditate. Express your feelings in a journal. Use this time to replenish.
- Spending an excessive amount of money and worrying about the gifts can be very stressful. Think of a unique, thoughtful, or even homemade gift instead that doesn’t cost so much money and bring you anxiety after the holidays.
- Don’t buy into commercialism and expectations that media portrays. Create your own holiday traditions and maybe adopt some from other cultures.
- When conflicts arise, detach yourself from a person until you both calm down and then address the issue in a non-judgmental way, using “I statements”. I felt hurt when you said this… instead of you are an ‘XYZ’. Holidays are not the time to bring up old resentments. Avoid topics that might be a trigger for you. Everyone is doing the best that they can.
Wishing you joyful, stress-free, and fun holidays.
(read more on WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/emotional-survival-guide-for-holidays)