Ahh, the holiday season: a time of gatherings and gift-giving, treats and traditions. This time of year gives way to so much sharing and caring, yet the weight of expectations and pressure can also create a Petri dish for the holiday blues.
The fast-paced frequency of social gatherings can create a “maxing out” of energy reserves which results in the oh so common feeling of overwhelm which can easily turn into paralysis and feelings of inadequacy. It’s easy to go from holiday cheer to “I can’t do anything right so why even try?” Let’s face it, the most organized, most Cheermeister among us can feel down, so for people that have struggled on and off with depression the holidays can be especially tough.
It’s especially important during this demanding time to go easy on ourselves and be sensitive to the needs of others.
Whether it’s just a temporary bout of feeling down or part of a more the complex condition of depression, it helps to prioritize some super basic practices. Daily acts of self-care often get placed on the back burner, especially when time is short and stress, even good stress- (yes, there is such a thing) is high. To fight this focus on:
- getting enough sleep – shoot for eight hours a night.
- getting out for brisk walks in the sunshine and fresh air – helps combat hibernation excuses.
- keeping a balanced diet – keeps energy up and healthy snacks before holiday parties help mitigate overeating.
Actually making these things happen is the hard part and it requires a true investment of our time and energy.
So, treat self-care it like you would a job -scheduling sleep and exercise and planning healthy meals- and it will pay off in a major way.
When it comes to the balance of social and personal time, keep in mind that you don’t have to participate in every holiday event that presents itself. If you’re feeling overtaxed, a night in, a hot bath, or listening to some of your favorite tunes can be the restorative medicine that your mind and body need to recharge your batteries between the demands of work, family matters, and social events.
Give yourself permission to say “no” will help ensure that your “yes’s” are authentic, allowing you to experience gatherings with grace and warmth, leading to more nourishing connections to those with whom you share.
And read the follow up post: 7 Ways to Help Someone Fight the Blues: Depression Resources