Holiday Blues are easy to get. Seems like everyone's having a ball - everyone but you. But in fact, that's not true at all. Lots of people are having plenty of problems and lots of people are having the blues right along with you. And - there are many things you can do to pull yourself out of the doldrums.
To help you relax and be receptive to what we offer here, we suggest you start with relaxation breathing. Takes just a minute (we're only going to do three breaths) (and, really, you're going to be breathing anyway...) - and it truly helps. Here we go...
Take a deep, deep breath through your nose. Deeeeep - and slowwww - all the way in - and release it slowly through your pursed lips- like blowing a kiss - all the way out...
Once more - another deep, deep breath - in through your nose - count up to 8... - Sit up straight so you can fill your lungs all the way to the bottom of your diaphragm - and very slowly, very gently - out through your pursed lips as you count down from 8... Close your eyes, relax your muscles and allow the tension to leave your body.
And one more deeeeep breath - in through your nose... And blow kiss - out slowly and gently through your pursed lips. And relax your muscles - all over - let every one of them relaaaax - like butter - like crusty, old snow melting on a sunny, spring morning - from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes. Good.
Feel a bit better? We hope so. Now we're ready to begin.
Here are ten simple things you can do to get rid of the blues and get control of those unhappy feelings:
Don't believe all that hype you hear about all the people having so much fun everywhere. Wherever people are getting together, especially families, you can be sure there's plenty of tension, strife, conflict - even shouting matches and screaming tantrums - or quiet, rage-filled fuming - and other unpleasant stuff. While some people may be falling in love and getting engaged, probably many more are splitting up or living in quiet misery - and sometimes not so quiet misery.
Do remember this: You're not alone - you're not the only one who feels left out of all that cheer.
And also this: Wherever there are human beings, you can be sure there are plenty of conflicts, problems and other unpleasant stuff.
Get out of the house! Sometimes staying inside your own little world is the worst thing you can do. You can get cabin fever easily. It's best to get out and do something - anything - even if it's just window shopping - or going to the library - or to a movie. The more active you are, the less likely you'll be to succumb to depression.
Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays - even if thing's are not perfect right now. This is a very important step. Giving yourself permission to enjoy the holidays - and, in fact, giving yourself permission to enjoy your life - even if it's not perfect - are key steps in getting control of the blues.
Sometimes you've just got to tell yourself to let go of your misery - that is, you've got to give yourself permission to let go of your unhappiness. You might even say to yourself: I hereby give myself permission to let go of the blues. I hereby give myself permission to enjoy the holidays - even if things in my life are not perfect.
Go be with people - especially friends or other people you like. Call an old friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Or, find some new activities that will put you in touch with others who might become friends. Join a chorus or hiking group, an investment club, church group or synagogue gathering. Go caroling. There's a load of activities listed in local papers and bulletin boards - and every one of them's got people - one of whom just might become a good friend to you.
One of the most effective ways to get rid of the blues is to help someone else. How about babysitting for a busy, overworked mother you know? Or visiting an elderly person who also may be feeling lonely and would really appreciate your company? Or - helping a nearby church serve dinner to the homeless? Volunteer at your local hospital.
There's no shortage of good deeds to be done in the world - and doing them is almost a sure-shot way to get rid of the blues. Did you know that needy children often write to Santa Claus asking for gifts? Call the Post Office, pick up a letter and give one child the gift he or she asked for. You'll make someone very happy and you'll catch some happiness yourself in the process.
Get tickets to a play or musical or some other appealing event. Even if you have to go alone, you can enjoy the theatre or a movie or other holiday event. And don't be surprised when you find other people are there alone, too, and sometimes you can strike up a good conversation with one of them.
Think of a project you can do in your house that you never get time to do, like cleaning out the closets or drawers - or organizing your desk. If you take all those clothes you no longer need or want and give them to a thrift shop, you'll feel better and your house will look better - which will help you to cheer up, too.
Do something physically active. Take a long walk or hike - or go running - join a gym. Go to a square dance - or folk dancing group. Learn to roller-blade. Physical activity definitely helps to stave off depression. If nothing else just get up and do ten or twenty jumping jacks. You're practically guaranteed to feel just a tiny bit better.
If you're upset about something, sit down and write about it. Note every element that's upsetting to you and analyze why. Then come up with a written plan that will help resolve the situation - or, if it's not resolvable, come up with ways to help yourself cope with the situation, such as discussing the problem with a friend or a counselor. Externalizing your problems like this - onto paper - helps get the unhappiness out of your system.
Count your blessings rather than feel sorry for yourself. You have many blessings - you just have to start noticing them. Why not make a list of your blessings? Making a list is a good way to start seeing what's right in your life, instead of what's wrong. If you have enough to eat each day and a warm place to sleep - that's a blessing in itself. Many people in the world don't have even that. Even living in this great country where we have so many freedoms is a blessing when you think of all the misery and sorrow in the world. Don't overlook the many blessings you have. Try not to indulge in self-pity. That rarely helps.
Here are some positive affirmations to say to yourself - outloud - right now - to help perk yourself up.
Saying affirmations really works. Simply speak these statements - even if you don't believe they're true at first - it doesn't matter. Affirmations work even if you don't believe they're true. Later, repeat them to yourself throughout the day.
- I am a good person at heart.
- I enjoy giving to others - and to myself.
- I deserve to have a good life.
- I hereby give myself permission to enjoy my life to the fullest.
- I hereby give up my feelings of misery, self-pity and unhappiness.
- Every day I find new ways to give to myself and others.
- Every day I find new ways to enjoy my life.
- Today I am finding new ways to enjoy my life.
- Today I am finding new ways to enjoy the holidays.
- I am glad that I am enjoying this special season of the year.
- I am glad that I am enjoying my life so much these days.
- I enjoy my life.
- I am allowed to enjoy my life.
- I am allowed to enjoy pleasure.
- I now allow myself to enjoy these holidays to the maximum that I can.
- I am glad for all the things in my life that give me pleasure.
- I am glad to enjoy these holidays with pleasure.
Speak these affirmations to yourself - outloud - at least twice a day. Speaking affirmations can be very powerful. They really, really can help you. Try it - you may surprise yourself. If you've tried to help yourself but none of your efforts have helped, you may be in a clinical depression in which case we believe you should seek professional help. For more information, check out our segment on SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you can access our segment on COPING WITH GRIEF.
Perhaps our segment on PRAYER could help you.
Good luck - and Happy Holidays!
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