STK - Bokeh light of holiday garland close up

The holidays can be a tricky time.

For many people, it is a time of celebration and of reuniting with family and friends. Usually, there is a decent amount of gatherings to attend, various plays and concerts to enjoy, and lots of holiday cheer to go around.

Well, what happens when all that is taken away, and you feel yourself being not as “merry” as in times past? Let’s explore some helpful options that may just having you feel a little better.

For starters, know that you aren’t alone. One study noted that 64% of people feel a little blue over the holidays. I’m sure with COVID-19 still looming this year that this number may increase. It is helpful to know that the majority are feeling similar feelings as you and that may ease the thought of “it’s just me” when, in fact, it isn’t.

Talk to someone. Studies have shown that the simple act of talking about our woes with someone can be very healing. It can reduce stress, strengthen your immune system and reduce emotional and physical distress. Make sure that it’s a give and give relationship though — be willing to listen to the other persons woes as well so that the benefits go both ways.

Get outside. I have written about exercise a lot in these articles, so I’ll just sum it up quick. Go do something physical. Anything.

Exercise is so helpful for your mood it’s insane. If you are tired and need a quick pick-me-up, go on a quick walk. If you want to have an increased immune system, go be physically active. Yes, I know it’s cold outside. You will be fine. Wear a coat. You need the sunshine and the wake-up factor that only outside movement can bring.

Eat better. I understand that this time of year is full of goodies and treats. We all love getting the Christmas chex mixes from the neighbors and quite frankly, would be a little bummed with a bag of carrots. I’m saying eat the treats, but eat more of the good food.

Your whole diet this month should not consist of egg nog and candy. I’m sorry to break it to you, but Oreo’s are not a food group. Extra sugar in the bloodstream can result in slower cognitive function and can impair your memory and attention. Not to mention how it will really mess you up in other ways. So have that cookie, and then have a salad with your dinner.

Be protective of your time. Your time is valuable and as we are seeing in the world around us, your time is precious. Please spend time doing things that will make you happy and leave you feeling fulfilled. Maybe that’s calling a loved one, spending time in nature, doing art or home projects, helping someone else, napping, watching (yet another) TV series, any hobby, exercising, going to a movie; take your pick, but make sure that it’s what you want to do.

Meditate. Meditation allows for the mind to relax and retrain. Meditation is known to reduce stress, control anxiety, lengthen attention span, and help promote emotional health. I have found that meditation is one of the greatest skills you can use to help yourself in times of emotional distress.

If you can learn ways to meditate on the move or in the moment, it can be super helpful. However, it will require you to give the moment a pause. By that I mean that when you are feeling charged, you can pause in the moment and breathe. Pull yourself together and then move forward with less emotional volatility and hopefully a clearer head.

While this is a very interesting holiday season with many feeling the trauma of the year, I am hopeful that we are able collectively to be able to also feel the joy of the season.

It is a magical time of year and there is still much to be grateful and happy about. In the least, we can all be happy that it’s the end of 2020 and there is hope on the horizon for a better year next year.