This article was written by CK Kemp and Amy Quinn, Ph.D. students the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
The holidays are a fun time of celebration and meeting with loved ones. But they can also be times of remembrance, sadness, and stress. Depressive feelings and signs can pop up during the holidays because of this. Also, our bodies are finally able to relax from school and work during winter break, which means that signs of depression that were kept hidden during the semester are finally showing up.
Here are some good strategies for self-care to lessen the holiday blues!
Take a break over winter break
The holidays are often full of gatherings and events. It is easy to get swept away by dinner parties and gift exchanges, and miss out on meaningful rest and down-time. When planning the holiday calendar this year, try blocking out a few personal "dates" for a little R&R. It can be anything from taking the afternoon to read, getting a massage, or just catching up on sleep. Taking more time to rest makes people feel rejuvenated, and that way they can better enjoy time with friends and family.
No date to the office party? No problem!
If friends and family live far away, the holidays can feel lonely or isolating. For some people, alone time can exacerbate sad or depressive feelings. The holidays can be a great time to meet new people, as there are many events, shows, and celebrations throughout the holiday season. Decide to attend a party or gathering alone and meet at least one new person – other people are looking for new friends too!
Adopt a kind state of mind
Although there are lots of joyous aspects to the holiday season, it is also common for difficulties to arise such as missing loved ones, feeling stressed about money, or having conflict with visiting family members. In these moments, it can be easy to become self-critical or critical of others. It’s impossible to avoid negativity completely, but try working towards positivity by showing gratitude and being present during interactions. Check out Mindfully Managing Stress workshops at CSU, or look up gratitude practices online before the holidays begin!
Eat well and exercise
Let's face it - everyone tends to overindulge during the winter season. Just try and keep a balance of these indulgences. Counteract calories from holiday parties by planning workout days. Ate or drank too much at one party? Then try and limit sweets and drinks at the next. When looking at all of the delicious foods at a holiday event, fill the plate with veggies first and then just pick one or two desserts.
To talk further about depression or depressive feelings, contact these great resources:
- Counseling Services at CSU: Room 123 in Aylesworth NW or call (970) 491-6053.
- Center for Family and Couple Therapy at CSU: Call (970) 491-5991 to set up an appointment. CFCT is a part of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, in the College of Health and Human Sciences.
- In emergency situations never hesitate to call 911 or visit the emergency room.