This time of year is not entirely marked by festivity, celebration and fun. For some, it is full of overwhelming challenge, sadness and despair. According to psychologists, this is a time of year in the western world when we are most prone to bouts of depression, stress and anxiety. So how can you overcome the Christmas blues should they make a visit this year? Here are a few tips to help you survive.
The weather is turning colder, causing us to want to spend less time outdoors and more time indoors resting. Extra rest is good this time of year, but we cannot slack off on our exercise practices. In fact, December is the best time to begin an exercise routine rather than putting it off until January. In a recent study on happiness, researchers found that exercise is one of the leading precursors to feeling happy. So get some extra rest, but keep it in balance with your body’s need for exercise.
Create a new holiday tradition
Often we suffer because we measure our lives against the ambiguous “ideal” family or lifestyle. If our life contains enough of the “ideal” components, we judge ourselves as OK. However, if our life looks very different from “ideal”, we may judge ourselves as being wrong or inferior. This is a recipe for suffering. Most of us grew up with holiday traditions passed down by our family members and our society. If those traditions are not serving us, perhaps it’s time to create some new ones.
Here’s a rule of thumb to try out. Before engaging in a practice or tradition out of habit, ask yourself this question, “Does this encourage feelings of love and well-being within me?” Engage your creative spirit and find some new practices that honor who you are and what you love.
Simplify your holidays
Not only can you create new traditions and practices, you can cull out some old ones. If fighting crowds in shopping centers and overspending on stuff does not appeal to you, then don’t do it. There is no better time than the holidays to DO WHAT YOU LOVE and teach your kids to do the same.
Surround yourself with people you love. Decorate only as much as you enjoy it. Spend only as much as feels comfortable. Eat only as much as you feel good about. Travel only as much as your schedule and energy level allows. Forget about other people’s expectations and take care of yourself first. Put your own name at the top of your list and make the quality decision to enjoy as much of the season as you possibly can.