female sitting alone by a fire, depressed at holidays


When you're just not in the mood for a happy holiday

Not feeling it this season? Maybe you started getting depressed as soon as you saw the Christmas decorations go up the day after Halloween?

Holidays are a lot of pressure—to coordinate schedules/needs/wants, to navigate relationships or to travel. Compounding it all is this ongoing message that holidays must be fun—even if you're not feeling happy, merry, jolly or anything else typically associated with the holidays.

If you're feeling down about the holidays, there are a number of ways to observe them that can bring you both peace and perhaps a bit of fun. A few ideas include:

1. Practice gratitude. As humans, we tend to focus on the things we don't have as opposed to the things we do.  Take a few minutes to appreciate the people or things around you, no matter how small.   

2. Change your expectations. We often set ourselves up for failure and stress ourselves out by expecting things to be perfect.  If your family has argued at the last 15 holidays, expecting this year to be different will only lead to failure.  Instead, be open to the experience and accept what is.

3. Turn inward. If seeking solace for you involves the spiritual, plan to attend a religious service or pursue any other meditative endeavors that bring you peace.  If you are someone who needs alone time to recharge, make sure you make time for that.

4. Get some exercise. When you're upset, stressed or otherwise not feeling like yourself, exercise—and the mood-enhancing endorphins it produces—can be the best thing for you.

5. Learn to say no. Saying "no" can be difficult, you may feel obligated to attend certain events. Decide which functions you want to attend and then don't be afraid to decline activities that only add more stress.

6. Volunteer. Consider connecting with a local assisted living home. Many times, the elderly are forgotten during the holidays and a visit from someone who cares will bring warmth to both their hearts and yours.

So this season, figure out what really matters to you. Discover what you really want to celebrate about these holidays (if anything) and then go be whatever type of merry you are up to being.


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