Avoiding a Blue Christmas
Prince George, B.C. – As folks rush around to attend parties, visit friends , get the shopping done and face the many other pressures of the holidays, some may find it difficult to meet the high expectations of the season.“Holiday Blues” are not uncommon at this time of the year says Maureen Davis, Executive Director of the Prince George Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this season, with additional responsibilities, changes in schedules and extra stress of expenses and demands on our time. For anyone who suffered the loss of a loved one, this season can intensify their feelings of grief and lost.”
There are ways to get through it all says Davis ” The key is to keep things simple, pick and choose those offers of events, set a budget and keep to it, have realistic expectations of the holidays and most importantly, remember to make your mental wellness a priority.”
Davis offers the following tips to help folks achieve Holiday Peace of Mind:
Plan ahead. If you’re entertaining, use the “keep it simple” strategy. Try menus you can make ahead of time or at least partially prepare and freeze. Then you can really relax and enjoy visiting friends, relatives and coworkers.
As much as possible, organize and delegate. Make a list and check it twice. Rather than one person cooking the whole family meal, invite guests to bring a dish. Kids can help with gift-wrapping, decorating, baking, or addressing or decorating cards.
Beware of overindulgence. Having a few too many glasses of egg nog can dampen your holiday spirit; alcohol can lift your mood but then drop you lower than before. Also, too many sweets will probably make you feel lethargic, tired. Eat well. Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. These are three ways to battle stress, winter blues, and even colds.
Stay within budget. Finances are huge source of stress for many people. Try to eliminate the unnecessary . A call, a visit or a note to tell someone how important they are to you can be as touching as and more meaningful than a gift.
Remember what the holiday season is about for you. Make that your priority. This season is really about sharing, loving and time spent with family and loved ones. Develop your own meaningful family traditions that don’t have to cost a lot of money.
Invite others. If you have few family or friends, reach out to neighbours. Find ways to spend the holidays with other people. If you’re part of a family gathering, invite someone you know is alone to your gathering.
Connect with your community. Attend diverse cultural events with family and friends. Help out at a local food bank or another community organization. Give to a charity
Remember the weather doesn’t help. Some people get the winter blahs each year, and a much smaller number (2-3%) develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Paying attention to nutrition, exercise and sleep and being careful with alcohol are also important if you have a history of depression. If your low mood carries on into the New Year and starts to affect your daily life, you should see your family doctor.