We’ve all felt down from time to time. Emotions are an integral part of what makes us human. Sometimes the low times can magnify the ups, so they’re not always that bad.
I have struggled with bouts of depression throughout my life. It began from a young age and has carried into my adult years. However, I have learned how to cope by taking great care of my physical health, doing the inner spiritual work and by being innately aware of what is going on with my thought process. But depression is a disease and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when we are truly and chemically depressed versus feeling down because of outside circumstances or events.
This happens a lot during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays, while supposedly fun and social, can also bring out deep-routed sadness. There are a multitude of reasons we get down with too much spending, family dynamics, and overall fatigue from lack of sleep or overeating topping the list.
Of course, always seek professional help if your depression lasts for extended periods or if you are unable to cope with day-to-day activities.
If you suspect your low mood is due to an external source such as the holidays, here are some useful tips to get you through it while minimizing possible depression and feelings of being overwhelmed:
- Reduce Sugar
This is a tough one especially during the holidays but sugar is a known depressant. Desserts and alcohol while initially causing a high, will lead to an ultimate crash in blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall energy. Allow yourself to binge a little bit during the holidays but know when to say enough is enough. Don’t feel the pressure to eat everything on your plate and drink one glass of water or soda between every alcoholic beverage to offset its effects. If something doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, don’t finish it.
- Find a Friend
Being around family for extended periods can bring out a lot of stuff from our past. Emotions can run high and toxic memories that we hold deep seem to surface quickly during the holidays. If you’re feeling emotional or drained, find a good friend to talk to. Decompress with somebody who knows you well and can remind you that you are in fact, sane, wonderful, and balanced and that family can bring out our worst. Friends can act as a therapist when we need them the most.
- Take a Time Out
Creating a morning practice is something that I recommend to all of my clients and friends. Journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading uplifting material every day, WILL change your life and your mood. It’s more important than ever to continue carving out this time during the holidays. Even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, it’s worth the commitment. This solo time will create a haven for you where you can get centered before the craziness begins.
- Watch Your Wallet
If you’re a giver, then this definitely applies to you. Many of us feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts during the holidays especially if others have done the same for us. Take the time to write down how much money you have for gifts (if any at all) and then create a budget for yourself. Carry it with you while you’re shopping and take notes in order to stay on track. Remember, the size or price of our gift in NO WAY reflects our love for somebody. A beautiful card with sincere words goes a long way, often meaning much more to others then a present. Don’t feel the pressure to give back. If you don’t have the money for gifts, learn to receive without the stress of having to return the favor. Those who truly matter will understand.
- Keep Up with Exercise
It’s totally fine to take a short break from your exercise routine during the holidays but don’t go too long. The longer you’re away, the more difficult it is to return. Also, exercise creates endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormone. They are more important than ever for those who are prone to depression. Push yourself to do short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which takes less time but with better results. HIIT also acts as a wonderful detox from sugar and alcohol.
- Learn to say NO
So many parties, so little time! It’s easy to get caught up wanting to be social and to visit with all of your favorite people. You must learn that it is okay to say no. If you’re not a “hell yes” to an event, party, or get together, consider turning it down with a polite response. People who love you will not take it personally. It is always best to put yourself first because if we are drained and feeling down, we have nothing left to offer others.