No so Jolly this Holiday? That’s OK!

Thanksgiving marks the start of the Holiday Season, the most joyous time of the year… for some.

But what if the merry bells aren’t ringing? And one more rendition of jingle bells or caroler “fa-la-la”ing in the mall is enough to push you over the edge?

Maybe this year has been one of loss? And when you pass by houses full of warmth, light and family, only to come home to an empty house, you are filled with grief.

Maybe you are financially burdened by the Holidays? Overwhelmed by expectations of creating the “perfect commercial holiday” and are left evaluating your budget in frustration or pushed  to spend beyond your means.

Maybe you are numb, angry, lonely, heartbroken…or just not feeling it.  That is OK and more common than you think.

According to the National Institute of Health, this is the time of year that depression is the most prevalent. One survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.

No matter how you are feeling, the most important thing to remember is to stay tuned into you! Your needs should come first (even before the needs of those important to you). Don’t be “guilted” into overspending or taking part in social situations that you are not ready for or that will keep you from observing the holidays in the way YOU want to.

Here are some tips from health professionals to help you beat the Holiday blues and make the season one that brings you the peace and happiness that you seek and deserve.

1. First, if your depression is serious, seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional. If you are just feeling a little sad or lonely, allow it to pass (and know that it will, feelings are only temporary). Pray, meditate or even cry it out. Crying has been proven to help bring a sense of cleansing and relief.

2. Set personal boundaries regarding the money spent on gifts and the number of social events

3. Don’t accept the “perfect” Christmas that is represented by the media and institutions. Lower your expectations and any attachment to what it “should” look like. Make the Holidays your own!

4. Be present and enjoy each moment as best you can. Try to take a social media fast. Connect only in real time and in person. It is easy to become detached by the convenience of communication through phones and computers. Meet a friend for coffee, try a new recipe or bake together. Even something simple can help lift your spirits.

5. Perform a random act of kindness. Giving back doesn’t have to mean spending money. Donate your time to charities and worthwhile causes that help the less fortunate.

6. Be grateful for what you have in your life, rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Sometimes we get so focused on one negative aspect that we forget to embrace the good.

7.  Stop overanalyzing your life.

8. Take action and go outside the norm. Let loose and do something silly without feeling self-conscious. Go for a drive without a specific destination or sightsee in the town you live in. Go to a comedy show or just pop in a “feel-good” movie and allow yourself a little relaxation time.

9. If you are spiritual, take part in church activities that focus on the bigger meaning of Christmas. Allow your faith to envelop and restore you.

10. Focus your thoughts on all the good things about the season–the opportunity to engage in loving kindness, generosity of spirit, and gratitude for others in your life.

No one but you dictates the way you celebrate this holiday season. Regardless of your situation, or the way you are feeling, you get to participate the way you see fit. If you see others that are struggling, reach out and try to help. If you are struggling, this could be an opportunity to take action and break free from the past.
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Our blog features a series of interviews with some of the most visible and inspiring people world wide (ILTV) PLUS inspiration, business tips, and advice from Keri.