In a survey by the National Women’s Health Resource Center for holiday blues statistics, nearly 65% of women say they have suffered from depression during the holidays, to the point that they didn’t want to participate in the activities.
While it’s easy to treat holiday depression with high fat, sugary “comfort foods” and alcohol that are in abundance in December, the truth is that this only compounds the problem (besides adding hangovers and weight gain).
If you turn inside for true rejuvenation and balance, you will be better prepared for the outside stressors that the holidays can bring. So, heres how to beat the holiday blues.
10 Tips for Truly Happy Holidays
- Nutrition: Don’t deprive your body of the nutrition it needs to effectively cope with stress and fight depression naturally. This means:
- Drink plenty of water (Dehydration is a real energy-zapper.)
- Eat fruits and veggies. (Reach for the vegetable plate instead of the fondue.)
- Take B Vitamins (Essential for stress management.)
- Sleep: There is a big difference between 5 and 7 hours of sleep. In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. Shoot for 7 hours and see how much easier it is to handle stressful situations. Can’t sleep? Lay off the sugar and artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and spicy foods – they all have stimulating qualities that make sleeping more difficult.
- Hugging: We don’t do it enough. Everyone needs a hug. If you don’t think you do, you’re probably out of touch (pardon the pun.) But be assured that, at the very least, someone else needs a hug from you. (Here’s a secret: when you give the gift of a hug to someone, you’ll receive the same gift in return!)
- Being Present: This is the best gift you can give anyone (and yourself!). It’s also the best stress deterrent there is. Prepare for your holiday festivities, but more importantly, be there when you’re there!
- Help Out: When you arrive at a holiday party or gathering, ask the host how you can help. Lending a hand will immediately help you feel more connected and useful.
- Singing: Holiday music doesn’t have to be a harbinger of stress and crowded malls. Find a station playing the corniest songs and sing along! Get everyone to join in and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel, in no time!
- Don’t Compare: The most natural thing is to compare ourselves to others. The problem is, we usually come up short and end up feeling bad; Sally’s got a new Mercedes, Julie’s lost a ton of weight, the Johnson family seems so perfect, etc. Comparing your insides with others’ outsides is a recipe for unhappiness, especially because everyone has problems, no matter how good they may look. So instead of comparing, count your blessings and be happy for others’ good fortune.
- Volunteer: If you aren’t able to be with family over the holidays, look for a children’s or elderly home or charity where you can focus your time and attention. So many people need love and care, and when you reach out to them, you will not only forget your troubles but feel joy in the process. Honestly, it’s probably one of the top natural cures for depression! To find places that need a helping hand in your area, or virtually, go to www.volunteermatch.org
- Exercise: This is one of the best natural cures for depression. Even a 10-minute walk is enough to change your state for the better. Bundle up if it’s cold and go for a brisk walk. While you’re at it, say some prayers for family members, friends, your community, your country and soldiers, and all who are suffering in the world. Also, find a local dance or gym class to attend. Exercising with others is always a little easier!
- Tap into Spirit: When you remember the true meaning of the holidays—the blessings all around us, the daily support we receive from our higher power, and the love in our hearts, every day is a little easier and a lot brighter.
Beating the Holiday Blues with Love and Cheer
The holidays are filled with many emotions and while it’s easy to feel stressed and get the holiday blues, you have tools at your fingertips that can help. Even if you are stuck in an airport with weather-related delays, stop and remember that the joy is in the journey! Try to bring love and cheer wherever you go and you will be amazed at the peace that comes.