It happens. Not everyone is thrilled with the holiday season. For some people, the holidays dredge up bad memories, act as a reminder of broken homes that never healed, and just aren't very merry at all.
If you've ever had reason to feel that way, you know what I'm taking about. There's no need to feel guilty about it. It really does happen more often than you might think.
If you're feeling it right now, here's a list of things I've done in the past to get through my own holiday seasons that played out to be less than cheerful. You don't have to do it all. Pick something and try it out. See what works. And if you can come up with your own list, share them with your friends. We're all in this together.
Here are my ten tips to tackle the holiday blues:
_Send out those greeting cards. Even if you don't feel like it, the act of writing personal notes to your loved ones sends the message that you are loved in return. We all need to feel loved, especially when we're hurting inside.
_Decorate your personal space. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but pull out some of those decorations you have stored away and create a space where you can experience just a little bit of joy in your heart. You deserve that.
_Invite a friend to go out for hot apple cider. No need to stress about doing it yourself at home, when you might not feel like straightening up, so pick a place where you can meet. Pick the friend who makes you laugh the most, and avoid alcohol--it can only add to your down mood.
_Go for a walk, a bike ride, a short run. Get out of the house and exercise. Even if it's cold out, the brisk air will do your heart and mind some good. Get those endorphins working for you and not against you.
_Watch a funny movie. Even if you have to do it by yourself, a funny movie is going to make you laugh, or at least smile. Your heart won't feel as heavy when it ends. Avoid movies that make you cry, unless you might need the release.
_Soak in the tub. When you're in a foul mood, sometimes a nice, hot bath can do wonders for stress relief. If you've been stuffing your feelings, the tub can also be a safe place to let loose the tears.
_Write in a journal. Pouring out your feelings on paper is one of the best ways to unload the crap that might be vegging inside your head. If you think you've been focused on the negative for too long of a time already, then focus solely on writing about the good things you have going for you. Everyone has good things going on in their lives. Sometimes, you just might not be thinking about them. Writing positive thoughts down on paper will remind you of them.
_Call a friend. When you're feeling down, there's no need to be alone. Friends are there to help you in times like these. They may not be able to fix your troubles, but they certainly can listen. All you have to do is ask. And if you don't want them telling you what to do, just say so. Just ask them to listen.
Skip the sugary foods. When you're burdened by depression this time of year (even for good reason), those cookies you were supposed to be leaving for Santa should stay on the plate. You can find something better to munch on to heal your wounds. Unless you're good at limiting yourself, celery sticks with peanut butter, an apple, or popcorn without all that butter would be a better choice. It's not because those cookies are full of fat. It's because of the sugar. It can have a depressive effect in the long run. And since we sometimes eat when we're feeling blue, it might be an even better idea to drink a glass of water with lemon, instead.
_Make a pot of tea. The act of making tea is a ceremonial gesture in and of itself. You get to pick the tea, pick a pretty cup to pour it in. It involves the senses. And then, when you sit down to sip it, it's very relaxing. Because it's so hot at first, it takes time. You're going to enjoy these few moments no matter what. Sipping a hot cup of tea is a great way to start your day or end the evening. And it can work wonders on changing a sorry mood.
If none of these ideas work for you, what might? Write it down here and then try it out for yourself. Let us know how you feel. Sharing hurt feelings is one of the best ways to overcome them.
And the holidays really are best experienced with a light heart and a cheerful spirit.