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Linda Mintle, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author of 16 books, a national expert on family issues and the psychology of food and weight. She's an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a national speaker, writer, and news contributor.

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Six Ways to Fight the Holiday Blues

Sandra was so looking forward to getting her Christmas tree, baking cookies and shopping for all her loved ones. But as the days towards Christmas became ever so close, Sandra felt a heaviness come over her. She wasn’t getting things done and was starting to feel down. Her hope for a white Christmas was suddenly feeling very blue. She was losing energy and momentum.

The holidays can bring overwhelming demands, over commitment, worries about finances, and unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, as a reaction to all the busyness, we find ourselves feeling down or little blue.

This time of good cheer can end up becoming a time of anxiety and depression like it did for Sandra. In order to prevent that down feeling, here are six tips to fight those holiday blues.

1) Think balance and moderation.

This is a biblical idea. Excessive demands, extra commitments, overeating, little sleep and no exercise can all bring you out of balance and leave you feeling tired and irritable. Bring balance to a busy time by pacing yourself and slowing down enough to exercise self-care.

2) Don’t isolate.

Make sure you don’t isolate yourself. A trigger for depression this time of year is isolating and avoiding people. Stay in touch with friends, people in your church and loved ones.

3) Participate in uplifting holiday activities.

Go to a sing along, a caroling night, a church performance of the Messiah or a play. Churches have so much going on this time of year. Attending the festivities will uplift your spirit.

4) Give to others.

One of the best ways to feel better is to give. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take toys to the underprivileged, help with decorations at a school or church, offer to collect money for a charity, etc.

5) Monitor your thoughts.

You can feel down if your thoughts begin to go negative. Don’t grumble and complain. If you focus on what is wrong or what you are not getting done versus what is positive, you will feel down. Take your thoughts captive. Think of things that are good, count your blessings and stay positive.

6) Remember the reason for the season.

We can get so caught up in all the doing that we forget what this season is all about. Take a few minutes to reread the Christmas story in Luke. Contemplate that starry night when our Savior was born. Allow your soul to be quieted and filled with gratitude. Nothing else really matters. This is what Christmas is all about.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 1:53 PM

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