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10 WAYS TO COMBAT HOLIDAY DEPRESSION

In Your Guest Writers on December 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

 

Image Credit Martine Lemmens

 

Tis the season to be jolly!

Still, for many Americans, the holiday season represents a time of sadness, angst, isolation, painful memories and depression.  This holds true particularly for singles who may not have a “special someone” to share this special time of the year with.

Perhaps you’re one of them. If so, don’t despair.

You’re not alone. The key to creating more pleasurable experiences or at least to navigating the holidays with your sanity intact is keeping the proper perspective.

To this end, consider the following tips as my holiday gift to you.:-)

1.  Recognize that happiness is a choice. It’s not always the stuff that goes on around us that determines our quality of life; rather it is how we internalize these things. Sure things could probably be better. We’re in a tough economy, the cost of living is higher, unemployment is rampant, and in many geographic areas the weather is really severe. But things could be worse.

You’re alive, you’re living in a free country, (with a Black president), and you enjoy many constitutional privileges that others are not afforded in other areas around the globe. “Don’t worry, be happy!”

2.  Have realistic expectations of yourself and others. Much of the stress associated with this time of the year comes from our “lofty” expectations. We watch the commercials and holiday movies with perfect families, perfect lives, and materialistic trappings, and we measure them against our own. Don’t!

More than likely the reality is Aunt Bertha will drink too much, Uncle George will still be holding a grudge from last year, there will be off colored jokes, disappointments over gift exchanges, and a “partridge in a pair tree!” Embrace it.

3.  Remember the gift of laughter. It’s true that it’s the best medicine. Lighten up and things will typically look up!

4.  Keep in mind the reason for the season. Due to over commercialization, the meaning of the season gets lost. Xmas is supposed to be in celebration of Christ’s birth. Honor it in thanksgiving and joy.

5.  Volunteer. Many times reaching out to others makes us feel connected and gives us a sense of purpose. Serve food at a soup kitchen, read to kids in the hospital, or perhaps make arts and crafts at a senior citizens’ home. Get over yourself and get involved!

6.  Surround yourself with positive people. I don’t know about you, but sometimes even family members can be a real “buzz kill” depending upon their personality, perspectives on life, and lack of “socialization savvy.”

Some can even be chronic complainers that really know how to “push our buttons.” Count to ten, and then count your blessings. In the words of Joel Osteen “you could be them!”

7.  If you’re without a mate, consider giving a holiday singles’ mingle for a group of your friends. Serve eggnog, play games, dance, exchange gifts. The possibilities are endless!

8.  Keep things is moderation. Don’t over do it—whether it’s food, shopping, drinks, or dialogue. Know when to say when!

9.  Dress yourself up! There’s great validity to the expression, “when you look good you feel good.” Adorn yourself with festive colors that accentuate your best features. You deserve it!

10.  Tune in to some beautiful music. Did you know that music has been reported to have therapeutic properties? It’s true. I personally recommend anything by Kenny G, Norah Jones, Michael Buble, the Whispers, or even some classical sounds. I’m willing to bet it’ll clear your head and lift your spirits. Go ahead, try it!

And last but not least, remember even during dismal times that “this too shall pass.”

It’s sure to put you on the path to positivity and put you in the right frame of mind . 🙂

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, Columnist, and Pro Blogger.  You can find her work at  Pen and Prosper, Coffeehouse for Writer’s and Technorati.com

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