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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Surviving Christmas

If you add up cold winter weather, financial woes, cooped up hyper children, husbands home on vacation from work, increased demands for your time, and unrealistic expectations, it's no wonder depression, or the "holiday blues" is so common among women (Moms in particular).

You're not alone if you don't feel all warm and fuzzy this time of year.  You're busy enough juggling being a wife, a mom, maybe an employee, and all the other roles you fill on a daily basis.  While your children and husband are "vacationing", you still have to shop for meals, do the laundry, keep the house clean, and (maybe) chase after babies and toddlers.  Where is the time for baking holiday cookies, decorating, hosting and attending parties, gift buying and wrapping, preparing huge feasts and entertaining?  And if you are able to sit down for a minute, the loneliness for loved ones far away and memories of simpler times, sink in and the tears flow.

Well, let me tell you that as much as you'd like to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head, it's not the best thing for you to do.  Dwelling on things you don't (or can't) have is only going to make things worse.  I know.  Been there, done that.  Some things you just can't change, no matter how much you wish you could.  But there ARE things you can do to get through the holiday and maybe even enjoy it.  It all centers around YOU.  Sigh, that's the answer for everything, isn't it?

1. Can you recognize when you are feeling down?  Recognizing and taking action is the first step.  Acknowledge that you're having a hard time.
2. After acknowledging your feelings, don't focus on them.  You can choose what you are going to do with that information...wallow in it or set it aside.
3. Recognize that your perceptions might be skewed.  It's so easy to pick out negative memories to reinforce your depressed mood.  It's possible to focus on positive thoughts and feelings instead.  Again, you have control over which thoughts you choose to dwell on.
4. Get active!  Get off your behind and do something physical.  Take a walk, do some of that housework, exercise at the gym, anything positive.  Try to find something to do outdoors.  Our bodies need sunshine and fresh air.
5. Take care of yourself.  Are you eating too many treats and goodies?  Try to eat as healthy as possible.  Are you getting enough sleep?  Your body needs adequate rest.  Give yourself some quiet time (if possible).
6. Look for ways to serve others.  There are people who need a little love and kindness.  Help them.  Visit the elderly and brighten their day.  Do something anonymous for a neighbor or struggling friend. 
7. If nothing seems to help and you just can's shake that depressed feeling, give yourself permission to see a doctor.  Sometimes there are physical reasons for depression that can be addressed and treated.  There's nothing wrong with that.

You're not alone if you are feeling anything but joyous this time of year.  It's ok.  Be kind to yourself.  Surround yourself with the people and things you love.  Remember always that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings and what you do with them.  Choose wisely.


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