Tips on How to Avoid the “Holiday Blues”
Obesity has grown to epidemic proportions in the Western World, with an estimated prevalence of 39.8% (93.3 million US adults) and $147 billion spent in annual healthcare costs.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is important to remember that many people are more at risk for increased stress, burnout, and changes in their daily routine that contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Kerry Hopson, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Granville Primary Care, Butner-Creedmoor, provides a few tips that can help to prevent the “holiday blues” this time of year. Make sure to share them with your loved ones, so we can all prioritize our mental health and wellbeing.
- Get Connected. Although this is the perfect time of year for family gatherings, it is important to remember that many have lost loved ones throughout the year and may not have the support system during this season. Isolation can increase negative feelings, so reach out to someone who can support you this time of year. Attend a holiday party, community festivity, sports event, school play, volunteer at a local shelter or food pantry, or invite someone over for dinner. Make sure to talk to your primary care doctor or local mental health provider if symptoms are worsening. They can be a good support to you during this time of year as well.
- Increase your daily structure. Stick with a routine and keep yourself accountable for maintaining your daily exercise. Even though the weather is changing, continue to go outside and get some sunlight to help your mood. Make sure to set small, attainable goals for yourself to avoid overwhelm with holiday preparations. Simply write a daily list, and prioritize the most important tasks. Check-in with your progress, and rearrange your priorities if need be. Set limits with your involvement if you’re the type of person that tends to over-schedule.
- Stay in the moment. Pay attention to the little things, and focus on one task at a time. Sometimes we don’t realize how many automatic processes are involved in our day-to-day routine. Make sure to check-in with yourself, and notice any signs that you may be carrying more tension in your body. Try something new like meditation and breathing exercises throughout your day. Remember, there’s an app for that!
- Try something new. Holiday traditions can bring a sense of comfort and nostalgia. For those who are used to spending the holidays with loved ones who are no longer with us, you may consider forming new traditions or even expanding on the old ones. Consider going to your local library and checking out a new book, learning a new skill, or starting a hobby.
- Engage in self-care. This may look different from one person to the next, however, anything that will allow you to focus on your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, will help to decrease stress. Examples may include taking a hot bath, allowing yourself time for personal reflection, acknowledging your strengths, learning to cook a new meal for yourself, exercising/joining a gym, spending time with a pet or favorite hobby, or spending time in nature. You are worth it!