Hot Tips for Thriving During the Holiday Season (3 of 4 parts)

How is it coming along taking care of yourself and including others?

Don’t spend holidays alone. Holidays are not happy times for some people for various reasons. If you live alone, unemployed, and dread the holidays or a particular holiday, spending it alone will usually add to you feeling depressed and very isolated. Give yourself permission to reach out to others in similar situations or find ways to make new friends. If you have any uncomfortable feelings you associate with a holiday will be exacerbated by spending it alone. If you have friends or relatives, see if you can join them for a part of it. If not, volunteer your time to work at a food center where the holiday dinner is served and prepared.

Avoid or be very moderate with artificial stress reducers. Most holidays include the sharing or offering of alcoholic beverages. Since for many people, alcohol is one way to combat stress and even despondency, it is wise to limit your intake if you wish to limit your stress. Alcohol actually is only a temporary stress reducer. In large amounts, or in combination with a lot of chocolate and caffeine- laced food and drinks, it can actually cause your adrenal glands to secrete more adrenaline and other stress hormones, causing you to feel a lot worse than if you had nothing to drink at all. Since alcohol is also a depressant, if you are feeling low, it will increase that feeling as well. Drink with food, and pace yourself. The best stress reducers are laughter, exercise, walking, listening to and/or singing music, helping others, being loved and sharing love, and for many, communion with their church or faith through private or public ceremonies and events.

Help others/volunteer. This is especially good for the person who lives alone or is all alone as far as family and friends. New in town? Loss of friends due to being unemployed? Volunteer to work at a local church or shelter to help feed the homeless and the poor. Create your own sense of “community" by being with people who are also alone and in most instances, far worse off than you physically, financially and perhaps emotionally. The more you give, the more you will get back in blessings and good feelings yourself. It may not happen the same day or all at once, but it will happen. When you see that the best gift you can give is yourself, your spirit and spirits will rise and be reinforced.

Take time for yourself every day. Many people get depressed during the holidays. This year just make sure that every single day you have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be something big and expensive. It can be a hot bath, a new magazine or a phone call to a friend. Most people get so busy in the holidays that they forget to enjoy themselves. If you always go to the gym and work out, don’t quit just because it is a holidays or you are unemployed.

The fourth in the series, Thursday December 25th