While the holidays are meant to be a happy, joyous time of year, it can also be a difficult time of year for many. Seeing family members and old friends can be fun and exciting, or can bring up old memories or disappointments. Many people find themselves turning into their 13-year old rebellious self instead of a responsible adult once they are in the presence of parents, siblings and other family members. In short, it is entirely normal to feel depressed and anxious during the holiday seasons, and if you are giving or attending holiday parties, you could also feel extremely stressed out. Those who have lost a loved one, gone through a divorce, or have moved far away from family members could suffer even greater levels of depression. Here are some helpful tips on surviving the holiday season:
- Try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible to avoid additional stress. Although there will be plenty of sugar-filled goodies practically everywhere you look, try to maintain your normal diet (assuming your normal diet is a healthy one). Keep your exercise routine going, and try to get to bed at roughly the same time you usually do.
- Eating and drinking too much is almost a hallmark of the holiday season, however the less you overindulge the better you will feel overall. Plus, eating too much and drinking too much might temporarily ease the stress of the holiday season, but is usually quickly followed by guilt.
- Let your expectations of the “perfect” holiday go, once and for all. Most of us have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like, therefore when it turns out our holiday is nothing like that version, we feel let down and disappointed.
- If the holidays typically leave you a bit blue, then you feel guilty about being depressed, let that guilt go. Try not to put pressure on yourself to be happy the entire holiday season, and do your best not to over-analyze the situation. Sometimes things just are what they are—accept that and give yourself a break during the coming holidays.
- Do not let yourself get over-scheduled. Learn to say no to invitations and favors. When you have taken on too much, do not suffer in silence, rather ask for help from family and friends.
- While having a cup of eggnog or a glass of wine is fine, do not go overboard with your alcohol consumption. Remember—alcohol is a depressant. It is also never okay to drink and drive. The holiday season is notoriously dangerous and every year fatal drunk driving accidents occur. This holiday, take a pledge not to drink and drive. in 2015 alone, there were 1,200 alcohol related drunk driving deaths.
- Watch out for snow and ice! Walking in a winter wonderland may be beautiful, but it is also treacherous. Be especially careful on melting ice that may be extra slick in the sun. Wear appropriate snow boots to help you gain traction and be careful in shopping malls and stores were melting snow accumulates around the doors. Serious slip and fall accidents often occur during the winter months.
- Watch out for falls. Hanging Christmas lights and holiday decorations may be a tradition, but it can also lead to injuries and accidents. Nearly 200 people a day suffer from decoration related injuries each and every season. In November and December each year, an estimated 13,000 people are treated in emergency rooms with injuries related to Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and holiday decorations.
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