Although many people love the holiday season, others tend to side with the Grinch. Holiday blues can make people unproductive, less careful with money, and even mean. I made the mistake of asking the front desk clerk at the rec center if they were open on Christmas Eve and got a whole tirade of how unfair it was that she had to work on December 24! If you are one of the stressed, depressed, or downright cranky people who are struggling to find your holiday cheer, here are 5 ways to beat the holiday blues.
Focus on the Positive Things
Even if ten positive things happen in a day, it’s easy to dwell on the one negative that reared its ugly head. When I get stuck in a negative, it helps to make a list of all the good things going on in my life. Sometimes a mental list is enough, and sometimes I need to write them down.
While this may seem silly at first glance, it’s hard to dwell on being late or not getting a job when you sit down and think about things like health, family, friends, and all the great opportunities that did go your way.
Even if you can’t think of many positive things at the moment, use this time to envision the positive changes you’d like to make for the upcoming year.
I know several people who claim to hate all forms of exercise. Even as a work out veteran, it’s sometimes hard to find the motivation get moving, but I am always glad after I’m done. You don’t have to join a gym or buy fancy equipment. Take a brisk walk for half an hour. Not only will your heart thank you, but exercise has a funny way of clearing the mind enough to focus on priorities, or at least something other than feeling grumpy.
Do Something Nice for Someone Else
Nothing chases away the holiday blues better than acts of kindness. You don’t have to spend lots of time or money to make someone’s day.
- Buy a coffee for someone.
- Clear the snow off a work colleague’s car after a stormy day.
- Roll your neighbor’s trash can back from the curb on trash pick up day.
- Help an elderly person load their groceries into the car.
- Put money in an expired parking meter before someone gets a ticket.
There are a million and one ways to give of yourself, everything from donating to charity, volunteering, or doing a random act of kindness for a stranger. All of them are guaranteed to make you feel better.
Clean and Declutter
When I’ve had a bad day, it gets lots worse if I come home to find my home in a cluttered mess. Decluttering and cleaning can be very cathartic. Just like exercise, the process of cleaning is never very fun, but the results can relieve stress and make the atmosphere seem better.
Remember not to let cleaning distract you if there is an important deadline, but if work is done or you need a break, cleaning out a space or room can do wonders.
Set Attainable Goals
Many people feel depressed toward the end of the year when they haven’t accomplished as much as they thought they should have. This might actually be from slacking off, but it could also be a result of setting unattainable goals. This is a great time to take a look into next year and think about goals you want to achieve in 2016.
Instead of making broad, general goals like losing weight or getting out of debt, put some actual numbers behind them. It’s much easier to stay focused on losing ten pounds in three months instead of thinking about losing 60 pounds without a time frame. Once you achieve those smaller goals, set new ones and keep moving forward.
Having a concrete goal to shoot for leaves less time to concentrate on things that are not going well.
Beating the Holiday Blues
Beating the holiday blues is much more fun than complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, or taking your woes out on an unsuspecting person who asks a question. Instead of focusing on the negative, try to think about positive things and focus on what you can control. Even the Grinch learned to love Christmas.
Do you ever get depressed around the holidays or have you noticed others being sad or cranky this time of year?