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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.

  1. Relax. Take time out of your hectic holiday schedule to pamper yourself. Treat yourself to something you like and do things you like to do, even if it’s just going to the movies.
  2. Plan and prioritize. Don’t plan more than you can accomplish comfortably. Develop a calendar of specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other events. If you do feel overburdened, share responsibilities with family members or friends. Consider buying pre-made food items instead of baking everything yourself.
  3. Set realistic expectations. Holidays can be difficult for people, especially when reality doesn’t measure up to their expectations. Also, don’t label the holiday season as a time to cure all past problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. Budget. For many people, the holidays are financially stressful and that can cause the blues or depression. Know your spending limit and stick to it. Enjoy holiday activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations. Go window-shopping without buying anything.
  5. Don’t force festivity. If you are straddling the fence about something such as going to a party, keep an open mind. If you’re split about whether to go out, go ahead and try going to a party. You may find that you have a good time. If you’re in a group of people and you feel pressure to go along, it is OK to assert yourself and say, ‘I need some time to myself.' It doesn’t have to be a hostile declaration, but you can politely choose to spend some quality time by yourself. You can be selective about what you want to do.
  6. Be healthful. The Mayo Clinic reminds you not to abandon healthy habits and eat and drink more than usual just because it’s the holiday season. Get plenty of sleep and schedule time for exercise. During the holidays, people are exposed more to things such as alcohol and food that, combined with the heightened stress of the season, may be hard to resist.
  7. Volunteer. Giving of yourself through volunteer efforts is a very effective counterbalance to sadness and depression. It can give meaning and purpose to holidays that would otherwise seem empty. Getting involved and helping others can be a great way to lift your spirits and make new acquaintances.
  8. Be introspective. Explore why you aren’t in a holiday mood. Ask yourself gently what’s going on and if you can pinpoint it. You might be able to know the specific cause of why you feel depressed or sad. This can help you address any changes you might make in your life, she adds. Remind yourself that the holidays and your present circumstances will not last forever, and look forward to the future.
  9. Start new traditions. Create for yourself what you didn’t have in the past. Knowing what caused you to be blue in the past can help you create happier memories in the future by beginning new traditions. As families change and grow, traditions may need to change as well. With families reuniting during the holidays, parents’ and grown children’s expectations may not match, which may lead to a dip in mood. Allow yourself some time away from your family and set realistic expectations.

Need a ride? Contact Dial-A-Ride Public Transportation Program at 217-639-5169.

The LifeSpan Center is located at 11021 E. County Road 800N, Charleston. The telephone number is 217-639-5150. Come join us each weekday at noon for “Lunch at LifeSpan.”

Peace Meals, sponsored by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, are served Monday through Friday at a suggested donation of $3.50. To register, reserve a lunch or learn more, call 217-345-1800.

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