Nine Ways to Beat the Bah Humbugs

Not everyone delights in all the festivities and joy of the holiday season. People from all walks of life and in all sorts of situations feel depressed, sad or out of it during the holidays. If you have the holiday blues, the following tips may help lift your spirits.

Relax. Take time out of your hectic holiday schedule to pamper yourself, says Peter A. Wish, Ph.D., a psychologist in Sarasota, Fla. “People need to remember to be nice to themselves. You should treat yourself to something you like and do things you like to do, even if it’s just going to the movies.”

Jane L. Cobb, LMSW-ACP, a therapist in Austin, Texas, recommends meditation, deep breathing or visualization to relax. Also, she says something as simple as curling up with a novel may comfort you.

Plan and prioritize. Don’t plan more than you can accomplish comfortably, Mayo Clinic officials advise. Develop a calendar of specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other events.

“You’ve got to plan,” Wish said. “Don’t wait until the last minute or you’re going to feel overwhelmed.”

If you do feel overburdened, share responsibilities with family members or friends. Consider buying pre-made food items instead of baking everything yourself.

Set realistic expectations. Holidays can be difficult for people, especially when reality doesn’t measure up to their expectations.

“People need to realize that the holidays are not going to be perfect,” said Carol Goldberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Syosset, N.Y., and president of Getting Ahead Programs, which specializes in workshops for stress management and wellness.

Also, don’t label the holiday season as a time to cure all past problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Budget. “For many people, the holidays are financially stressful,” Cobb said, “and that can cause the blues or depression.”

Know your spending limit and stick to it, CDC officials say. Enjoy holiday activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations. Go window-shopping without buying anything, CDC officials recommend.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that giving less materialistic gifts, such as your time or an item you made yourself, may help your stress level, as well.

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