I know tomorrow will be Thanksgiving with Christmas and New Year around the corner. For many, this is the joyous time of the year. This is the time when we give thanks, be generous, and be surrounded by loved ones. Kindness is in the air and it’s extremely contagious in this season. The homely and heavenly scent of ginger bread makes one feel warm and fuzzy inside. The Christmas music brings such cheer, that without noticing, you’re probably smiling from ear to ear. As the infamous holiday song sings, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. How can anyone feel down around this time?
Unfortunately, suicide rates increases during the holidays as depression gets worse around the same time. Holiday blues sort of goes hand in hand with seasonal depression. I have mentioned about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how to cope with it, please read Seasonal Depression after this entry for more tips.
This time of year can be very stressful with the shopping, cooking, decorating, and let’s not forget the family drama. That reminds me of family, some may feel extremely lonely, because they don’t have any family. Or some have a very toxic family that they can’t be around with, because member(s) triggers them. Some of us with great families tend to forget that not everyone is so blessed to be surrounded by loved ones.
So now that I created a little summary as to why some people may not be as cheery as others, let’s go over some helpful tips to eliminate, or at least reduce the holiday blues:
- Be Realistic – Are you a perfectionist or an over achiever like myself? Yea, I need you to dial that down. Don’t sweat the small details on how the ornaments were hung on the tree. Don’t spend too much time slaving away in the kitchen, because you want to make sure signature dish gotta be on point. I’m sure nobody is going to notice that extra tiny pinch of salt that you accidentally added. Relax. People are going to remember the moments being shared; not the fact you used emerald green napkins instead of hunter green. Side note, trust me, I get it… it would drive me crazy too! But just remember the real reason why you’re doing all this.
- Ask For Help – This kind of goes with being realistic. I know, I know, I know…. You’re Superman/Wonder Woman. You can do everything! Yea… let’s shut that down. Cause even Superman/Wonder Woman needed help. That’s why the Justice League/Super Friends was created, duh! Now I’m not saying you can’t do anything, but you can’t do EVERYTHING! Reach out to someone in order for you to get your tasks done in a timely manner. Also, it will be less stressful for you. I get it. You have your specific way of doing things and you worry that the person will mess it up. Just make sure you choose someone you can trust and you explain the details clearly. If it still doesn’t end up what you have in mind, then learn to let go and move on. Easier said than done, but in the end it will benefit you.
- Budget, Budget, Budget – Another tip that goes well with be realistic. Create a budget of how much you’re will to spend on decorations, food, and buying gifts. Let’s not get TOO carried away here! In the moment, is seems all fine and it’s for the spirit of the holidays; until that credit card bill comes in January. So make sure you stay in your budget. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
- Plan Ahead – This is a teamwork combo with the previous 3 bullet points. Obviously, when you plan ahead, it gives you the opportunity to be realistic about your goals. It helps you budget. AND… it’s easier to schedule something with a friend or family member to help you getting tasks done. Time to pull that paper and pen… we about to plan the shit out of this holiday! Woo!
- Say No – As you’re trying to plan things out, I know a lot of people may invite you to their get together or participate in many volunteer activities. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You cannot be everywhere! Unless you are Nightcrawler or have a teleportation device (I know, making a lot of geek references). Otherwise, just say no!
- Don’t Overstay – When you do attend a holiday event, you are not obligated to stay the whole time. Just drop by for a few minutes, say hello, and explain you have other engagements. The hosts will understand that it’s a busy time of year and appreciate your effort. Knowing you have a plan to leave can really ease your anxiety.
- Volunteer – If you don’t have a lot on your plate during the holiday season, then try volunteering. Whether it’s to collect coats/canned food or serving at a kitchen. This will make you feel that you are important and you can make a difference in someone’s life. Also, it will make you feel so good from giving back to your community.
- Shop Online – Holiday shopping is no joke! Especially on Black Friday. Save the hassle of dealing with the crowd of people by shopping online. Especially when there are tons of places that can provide free shipping after certain amount or free speedy delivery.
- Sun Lamp – This was mentioned on my blog entry, Seasonal Depression. Since I have mentioned how holiday blues and kind of go hand-in-hand with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), please read the post for more insight. Anyway, as the daylight grows shorter, lots of people find their mood gets gloomier. While some have diagnosed SAD, even people who don’t may still have a seasonal aspect to their depression. Talk to your doctor about trying a sun lamp. It could improve your mood.
- Self-Care – It’s the basic of getting enough sleep and drinking water. Also, exercising and eating right. I know the previous statement is challenging to do around this time frame. This is the time of year when it’s known that everybody becomes gluttonous with no shame. Especially myself! What I try to do is down size it and find balance. Instead of getting 4 big scoops of you grandma’s famous yams, just take 2. Just try to get what you want in half. Try to eat salad or a lot of vegetables the next day to balance what you ate the day before. Also drinking green tea and detox water can help cleanse the food you were eating. Of course exercise is helpful. If you don’t want to do the usual mundane workout, check out my blog entry, Natural Antidepressants, for fun physical activities.
- Give Yourself a Break – As stated on #2 (Ask For Help), you are not a superhero! So make sure you have made some time for yourself. Remember, you cannot take care of others and manage task if you’re not feeling well. Make sure you squeeze in some well deserve “me time”
- See a Therapist – If you are seeing a therapist, please make sure you go and see one. Usually therapists make the effort to see their patients near the holidays to make sure everything is fine. They also try to see their patient right after the holiday celebration is over, just to get a follow up. If your therapist has said anything yet, then schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
- Medication – If you are taking meds, please continue taking them as instructed. I understand in the hustle of the holidays, it’s easy to slack off and miss medication. Don’t let that happen. Trust me, you will need you pills more now than ever. Especially when dealing with relatives that can’t handle their liquor. Also, make sure that you’re up-to-date on your refills, too!
And that’s it! I hope this post has assisted you for this holiday season. Please read the other entries I have recommended that can also assist you through this time. I do realize, after everything is said and done, it still gets tough during the time of year. If you’re really down or thinking about harming yourself, please got to the emergency room immediately. You can get the best care. If hospitals aren’t your thing, then please call the suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone before taking any drastic measures. If you have any questions or need an ear to listen to, you can Contact Me or follow me on Instagram at OnlyMichy. Adulting during the holidays is rough, but just take it one day at a time.