This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to overcome the holiday blues

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.



Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell said...

I'll admit that finding the holiday spirit is more difficult for me these days. My husband is not a big Christmas person (I talk about that in my blog post today) and it was my mother who helped make the holidays such a special event. As well, her birthday is on the 21st, another reminder of her absence now. I think you have a wonderful list. If I could add to it, I would add to do something to create your own unique traditions. Also, if one day in particular brings sadness during the season, like my mother's b-day, do give yourself permission to go with it.

BIKE LADY said...

I read your blog post this morning. I didn't leave a comment because I liked it just as it was--a lovely sentiment--and didn't have anything to add. I like your idea here of creating your own traditions; it's a good tip to add to this list. Thanks, Kerri. Also, I hope your husband will find it in his heart to open up to the holiday spirit. Maybe he will one year, if you keep inspiring him with what you're doing in the home.

On another note, my former father-in-law died the week before Christmas three years ago. I loved him. He was a great guy, and the holidays make me think of him and miss his visits. So I have sent my former mother-in-law flowers each year at that time, so she knows I'm thinking of her and him. It also makes me feel less sad as the holidays approach.

Sara said...

A nice post with excellent advice. I find anytime I'm feeling "blue" that exercise really will do the trick.

Alexandra Grabbe said...

Lots of good suggestions here. I find that missing adult children hits hardest during the holidays. So, I remind myself how fortunate I am that they are all healthy and well-adjusted in their own lives. This year we had short visits from two of my daughters, and a chat with my son, on the other side of the country, which helped a lot. My mom passed away three years ago. One of my daughters wanted to go sit in her grandmother's old room, which somehow made Mom more present and turned out to be a nice way to include her in the festivities.

Ulrike, Dubai said...

Great list of suggestions - I didn't really feel like a Merry Christmas last week, especially with a visit from the in-laws on the books. But once they were here the mood lightened instead of darkened as anticipated. Christmas is all about family, friends and sharing, so your tips to connect with friends are so true. Good mood and joy is infectious.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell said...

Thanks, Jackie. I'm very frustrated with the husband and I'm kind of thinking 30 years is enough of trying on the Christmas thing. I do believe it so great of you to send your former mother in law flowers. Some people think they should ignore the anniversaries for fear it might make the person even sadder. However, those of us who've lost someone very close knows what makes it worse is when others forget and you're seemingly the only person on the planet who remembers them. I'm so sorry for your loss, too, Alexandra. My mother passed away 3 years ago on February 23 and we never get over missing them. I think it's so sweet your daughter wanted to sit in her room. I'm sure that helped you all.

Anonymous said...

These are great tips. It took me a while to get into Christmas this year and once I did, I ended up injured on the couch. Oh well. There's always next year!

Rosie said...

great list, Jackie! Just doing some errands can help - getting out, seeing people, and offering a smile and some conversation. Giving good energy helps attract good energy!