Yesterday I shared my thoughts on the holiday blues. Today you get to hear from a pro.
Life Coach and International Speaker Anita Agers-Brooks is the author of many books including
Amazon Best Seller, Golden Scroll Finalist, and Readers' Favorite Award winner: Getting Through What You Can't Get Over -- Barbour Publishing and First Hired, Last Fired -- How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market -- Leafwood Publishers. Here are her insights on making it through the holidays.
Getting Through the Holidays When You Don’t Want to Get Out of Bed
Sadly, not everyone sees Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s as the most wonderful time of the year. For these, the holidays are triggers for past trauma, grief, or tragedy. Even if they make it through the onslaught of office parties and family gatherings, the approach of January can smother them with daunting emotions. Why January?
Some experts have deemed the third Monday in January as Blue Monday, labeled so because it’s considered the most depressing day of the year. Perhaps it’s the holiday bills coming in, the winter weather holding us hostage indoors, the loss of strength to our immune systems, or simply having more time alone with our memories and thoughts that get us down. Regardless of the catalyst, a large percentile of the global population suffers from anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD in the winter months. So how do you combat the dreaded black clouds associated with Blue Monday and other depressive dates? What can help you get out of bed when you want to pull the covers over your head?
Through my own personal experiences, and those of people I interviewed for my book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, I found several practical helps that really work. But one of the simplest and most powerful, is understanding the why behind your emotional state. Knowing that your feelings are normal considering the season and circumstances, that you aren’t alone, and that there are things to help you get through the next moment when taking a whole day at a time feels overwhelming, is a huge relief when you’re beating yourself up for feeling down.
If dark clouds are moving in, if you are grieving or missing a loved one, if the holidays trigger anniversaries you wish would go away, here are seven quick tips to help you get through:
- Eat foods proven to release mood-boosting endorphins and serotonin. Green chiles are scientifically proven, powerful anti-depressants. Add them to soups, casseroles, stews, chili, even pizza or burgers. Cashews, walnuts, bananas, citrus fruit, blueberries, celery, and tomatoes are other good natural sources.
- Exercise throughout the day in one minute intervals. Sixty seconds of running in place, jumping jacks, skipping, dancing, or anything else that gets your heart rate up can help. (I suggest getting a physician’s approval first.)
- Clean a corner of clutter. Depression, anxiety, and trauma tend to make us lethargic, and piles of disorganization often result. Once that happens, guilt adds to our depressive mood, and a cycle begins. Break the bonds by tackling a small area. Accomplishing even one small task can energize us to do more and lift our hurting spirits.
- If at all possible, take a twenty minute walk outside. Nature is a natural healing balm to a wounded soul.
- Volunteer to help an individual or organization. Give anonymously to someone in need. When we give others the gift of hope, we unwrap it for ourselves.
- Say no to one unhealthy thing each day, whether it’s food, a pressure someone else is putting on you that you aren’t comfortable with, or negative self-talk. Then replace it with one healthy thing, like meditation on Bible scriptures, or time to talk to God.
- Give yourself something to look forward to. Daily, set aside quiet time for a mineral bath, or in a place of solitude with a good book. Weekly, schedule time with a friend or family member you haven’t seen in awhile, bake your own favorite treat, go somewhere locally you’ve often thought you’d like to visit but never have. Monthly, begin a new family tradition, schedule a weekend getaway, get a pedicure, or give yourself a date-night with you — permission to relax and enjoy a movie, a book, a treat you enjoy, not something you agree to for someone else.
Want Anita's PTSD Busting Blueberry Smoothie Recipe? E mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention you read this blog post.