Healthy ways to avoid holiday blues
The holiday season can be a happy and joyous time, bringing family and friends together.
But for some, it can be a stressful and lonely time, leading to symptoms of depression. When stress is at its peak, unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, using drugs, and overeating, tend to take over. Though people use these behaviors to cope with and escape difficult emotions, they tend to make things worse.
Stress and depression during the holidays can be reduced and even prevented by following a few practical tips.
Identifying holiday triggers, like financial pressure or personal demands, can also help.
With some planning, the holiday season can be more manageable.
Keep expectations realistic
You may feel pressure to take on more tasks than you have energy for or give more gifts than you can afford. Overextending yourself and not being able to follow through can make you feel worse. It’s OK to say “no.” Only commit to those things you know you’ll be able to do.
Make time for exercise
Not only does exercise keep your body healthy, it protects your mind. When you’re active, your brain releases chemicals that improve your mood and decrease stress. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, each week.
Talk to someone
You also don’t have to go through the season alone. You’ll feel better if you talk it out with someone close to you. That person may also help you think of your problems in a new way and recommend solutions you haven’t considered. If your feelings persist, consider talking with your doctor or a mental health professional. Depression can be treated.
Take care of yourself
When you treat your body right, you’re able to deal with problems more easily.
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Avoid sugar and caffeine. They can cause a dip in your energy level and leave you feeling worse.
Eat health-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
Follow healthy habits you already have; take a walk, read a book or listen to music. Taking breaks throughout the day can help clear your mind, slow your breathing, and restore your inner calm to help you have a healthier holiday season.
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