Lets be honest, while the holidays can be a fun and exciting time, they are also a time of year that provoke depression and anxiety for most people. Whether you are part of the LGBTQ community, struggling with a Mental or Physical Illness, have a totally different religious or political opinion than your entire family, or some other thing that makes Uncle Kevin mumble complaints under his breath at the dinner table, it doesn’t matter. We all share similar struggles.
All too often we let the negativity of others influence how we feel about ourselves. So here’s 5 things you can do to combat those Holiday Blues.
1. Cheer-Lead Yourself
If you’re going to be spending the holidays with your family, or alone, use Cheer Leading statements to help boost your self confidence for the day. Stand in the mirror and compliment how you look. Compliment the successes you’ve had this year. Prepare yourself to possible negative comments and combat them. Why are they not true? And why are you so rad?!
2. Be Reasonable with your Time and Money
Every single friend, family member, neighbour, and coworker are throwing holiday parties. Make a list of your priorities and don’t commit to go to every party. That’s unreasonable and exhausting. Choose the most important ones and go to them. Make sure to leave time for Me time and, if you have little ones, enough time to hang out at home and spend time as just you guys.
If your participating in a Secret Santa, buying gifts for non-immediate family members, friends, and coworkers, set a reasonable price limit. You don’t need to buy friends and family super expensive gifts. A DIY gift or a little token of gratitude is perfectly acceptable. No one’s expecting you to buy a $50 wine basket for everyone.
3. Try not to Over-Indulge
The holidays are a really easy time to over-indulge in both food and alcohol. Indulging is fine. I know I’m guilty of putting a bit too much on my plate at Christmas dinner. However, eating (or drinking) to the point of complete discomfort can only contribute to feelings of low self worth, especially if you are sensitive about your weight.
Don’t let the holidays be a reason to drink, either. Having a few glasses of wine with friends and family is fine. Having a bottle to yourself to fight feelings of depression is a bit on the extreme side. Moderation is key!
4. Take a Break
Like I mentioned in #2, make sure you set aside time in the busy holiday schedule for yourself. Go hiking, take a long hot bath, do yoga, paint, take photographs, play with your kids, watch a movie. Whatever you like to do to relax, make sure you set aside to do these things throughout the holidays.
Trying to fill up all your time with family obligations and party preparation is draining and will surely perpetuate depression. Do things you love!
5. Let the Negativity Roll off your Shoulders
I know with my family, that “those comments” flow more freely than the wine. Political comments. When will I be going back to church? When am I going to start “dressing like a girl”. Parenting criticism. We all know what comments really push our buttons.
We probably spend the rest of the year ignoring our critical friends and family’s negative comments, so what stops us now? Sure, it’s hard to ignore Aunt Suzie when she is going off on a homophobic rant, or Grandma Sally when she’s talking about how back in her day people just pulled themselves up by their boot straps.
There’s tricks to help ignore it. Either become proficient at day dreaming during the drama, or try to gently guide the conversation in another direction. If the criticism continues, make up an excuse and leave the party. There’s no shame in it. If you can feel your anxiety and/or anger building, it’s best to excuse yourself and go to a safe spot to ground yourself.
What tips do you have? What helps you through the holidays? Comment below!