Emotional Survival Guide for the Holidays
Experts explain some simple methods for driving away the holiday blues.
Dashing Through the Snow
"Get outside and exercise," says psychologist Joan Borysenko, PhD. Borysenko is the author of the soon-to-be-published book Saying Yes to Change.
"This can be hard because if you live in certain parts of the country, it's cold and snowing during the holiday season. But getting outside is great because you get sun, fresh air, and exercise," she says. Exercise has been shown to boost level of endorphins, the body's natural antidepressants.
Lending Santa a Helping Hand
"Volunteer to help someone," Borysenko says. "Deliver presents for Santa or help at a homeless shelter. This is really the top thing that people can do to turn their holiday blues around. Altruism and volunteerism make you feel better about yourself, but they also get you out of your rut, home, and isolation. This is a time of year where the spirit of helping and compassion is right there, and if you can tap into it by helping others, that's great!"
Remembering That It Really Is 'A Wonderful Life'
"Be grateful for what you do have and all the positive things that have happened in your life," Orloff says. "Talk to supportive friends on the phone and find the kind of support to make you feel less lonely rather than dwelling on the loneliness."
Jain agrees. "Thinking that the glass is half full, not half empty, is a simple but effective tool," he says. "Instead of thinking about what you can't buy, think about the extra time and joy that you have to share with your friends and family."
Creating a Photo Opportunity
Many people actually love the holidays and feel let down only when the holiday season is over, Baron says. But making a plan to get together after New Year's can help keep the holiday spirit alive longer. "Take lots of pictures over the holidays and plan a late-January get-together where everyone can share their pictures," he suggests. "It's something to look forward to without waiting for the spring thaw."