The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. When you have to deal with family members you may not necessarily want to, you miss relatives that are no longer with you, the stress of having everything perfect and done on time, the cost of buying everyone presents… it can all add up. If you’re having any symptoms including losing interest in things that normally bring you happiness, having trouble concentrating, or feeling fatigued no matter how much you sleep, then you may be experiencing depression.

Here are some tips to hopefully alleviate some of the stress:

Mindful Meditation

It’s not as complicated as you may think and it only takes a few minutes a day. One of the simplest ways to do this is to just be in the moment. Sit down, straighten your back and find something to focus on, whether it be the floor, or the wall in front of you. Listen. Take a deep breath…what sounds do you hear? The second your mind starts wandering, start focusing on what sounds you are hearing. Don’t worry that your mind keeps wandering – we are human and this is natural. Just push that to-do list out of your mind again and focus again on what you are hearing. Do you hear the clock ticking? The hum of the dishwasher? The heat running? This will help you forget everything for just a few moments and hopefully be able to re-focus. There’s no need to ensure you have meditation music on, saying a mantra, or any special type of equipment… of course, if you’d like to add those things to it, GO FOR IT!  

Practicing Mindfulness  Practical Meditations for Beginners  Mindful.org

Taking Care of YOU

What are some of the things you can do to take care of yourself?

  • Learn to say no. Only take on what  you can handle. If you start over-scheduling, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
  • Let go of perfectionism. Your home and your meals doesn’t have to look like it just came out of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Set realistic goals depending on your schedule. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. There are even apps now to set reminders for bedtime! When you’re well rested, you can think more clearly, eat better, and feel more ready to take on the day.
  • Eat well. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Eat more fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water.
  • Limit alcohol. A lot of times, people like to drink to “get their mind off of things.” But did you know that drinking to excess can affect your mood and lead to amplifying any negative feelings you may have. 
  • Exercise! Don’t think the only way to get exercise is to join an expensive gym. Do you have a pet dog? Taking him for a walk will do you both wonders! Cleaning your house is exercise as well! Exercising will boost your mood endorphins and get your heart pumping – perfect combination for putting a smile back on your face 🙂

Get Support When Mourning a Loved One

The holidays can be really hard if you’re mourning a recent loss or it was a holiday they once enjoyed. A lot of the times when grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing we want to do is to associate with others. Gathering with family and friends and reminiscing about the loved one while sharing stories is like chicken soup for the soul. Have a toast to the loved one and share your funniest stories. It’s ok to shed a few tears too.

If you are thinking about suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line, a free text message service available 24/7, at 741-741.

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