Holiday Season Depression – There is a mystery among us that has been going on since the beginning of time and has yet to be solved. Starting in early November when the candy shelves are stocked again and the goblins are secure, a lingering mental ghost tends to sneak upon us. Holiday season depression is one of the most misunderstood, yet easily solved wonders of the Christmas season.
Did you know there are more suicides from November until the beginning of a new year than any other time on the calendar? Why. The Holiday season just brings to the surface our repressed and suppressed internalized anger or fear.
Depression, at its core, is nothing more than a few simple puzzle pieces in our tangled minds, that if put together properly can be eased at what is supposed to be the merriest time of the year.
Holiday Season Depression
We are programmed (brainwashed really) at an early age to push through our stress, work hard, and always strive for what we want and desire in life. But the paradox is that the one thing that we are rarely taught to do is the one thing that we must do to combat those feelings of despair. Rest to repair our body and our mind.
You see, it’s easy to conceptualize and understand exercise, taking a walk with our dog, biking in the park on a sunny day, but when have we ever been taught how to properly exercise our mind or our mental state?
For most, the holiday season from November through early January is a time to reflect. It’s a time to look back at what we accomplished (or didn’t) during the year and we tend to be very hard on ourselves. We didn’t lose the weight we wanted. We are still in that crappy job with a monster boss, or we are still tangled in a bad marriage or financial stress. It’s not hard to see why holiday season depression runs rampant in the colder, darker, and the less Vitamin D days of winter.
We tend to eat a lot more and we tend to watch more TV and the focus seems to be on what we can do for others instead of what we can do for ourselves. I have a few simple tips and tricks that are so easily enacted to add to your shopping list during December and they won’t send your budget soaring.
First, adopt a deep breathing exercise daily (twice a day is better). Did you know over 73% of Americans are only upper thoracic breathing (above the stomach) most of their lives? What this means is that they are rarely getting in the full amount of oxygenated blood flowing to their extremities that are needed for proper heart function and brain activity. Put both hands on your abdomen, inhale through your nose as your stomach goes up for a count of 5. Then exhale through your mouth for a count of 6-7. Repeat this 10X twice a day. You will feel the difference if it becomes a habit. It takes 21 days to make a habit so by the new year you will know how to breathe properly.
Second, practice elimination tactics of family and toxic friends. I have found this is the hardest for most, but the most relevant to a happier life. You see, most of our lives we react to people’s nonsense and drama. We feel this false sense of security because it’s our friend, our mother, or our spouse that we are reacting to the most. Well, have you ever asked yourself, are these reactions serving my heart or ripping it apart?
We go most of our lives allowing people to control our emotions, instead of living our own lives with our own choices based upon what serves us. No, I’m not saying you have to cut your controlling mother- in law or your father out of your life, but set some ground rules with them stating what you are no longer willing to accept for YOUR wellbeing.
Third and most important, be thankful for what you have NOT what you wish you had. You don’t have to look far in today’s tangled world to see firsthand how lucky you are.
During this holiday season depression, turn the tables on yourself. Go give more.
Take food and old clothing to the homeless shelter, take an LED Candle with you, and sing Christmas carols in an assisted living shelter at night, or simply pay it forward to someone in the drive-through window. You will be amazed the more you give, the more you receive.