'Tis the season to be jolly! However, amidst all the cheerful celebration, stress and depression can wreak havoc on your health, your mood, and even on your behaviors.
If you feel you suffer from holiday depression, you're definitely not alone. Tons of others feel the same way.
Below you will find 32 surefire ways beat the holiday blues and ring in the new year with a happy and peaceful heart.
1. (Re)Commit to Your Yoga Practice
Sure, adding even more to your growing to-do list seems like it would add stress, but nothing calms your nervous system and smoothes your frazzled edges like yoga.
2. Just Breathe…for 5 Minutes
If you really can't get to your mat for the hour, then practice a daily, 5 minutes do-nothing-but-breathe meditation. Inhale Peace, Exhale Drama!
3. Plan Some Down Time for Yourself!
A mini vacation or staycation throughout the season can work wonders. If you can only afford one day, or even an afternoon off from everything and everyone, the break will recharge your drained battery.
4. Get Enough Sleep
With so much to do (or in some cases not enough to do) during the season, make sure sleep stays high on your list of priorities. A tired mind and exhausted body leads to depression, increased anxiety, irritability, and a general lack of joy. Make sure you get your 7-9 hours every night to keep you smiling.
5. Eat Healthy
This is the season of excess and overindulgence. You know it's coming, so prepare yourself with healthier recipes, and more fruit and veggies, and you won't feel so tempted to overload your plate with holiday goodies.
6. Find Your Drishti
Remember that too much multitasking can triple your stress load. Cultivate a yogic, single-minded focus off of your mat and just do one thing at a time.
7. Say "No!"
Let's face it, we cannot do it all. In the spirit of generosity, the tendency to over-give runs high. In order to keep your stress levels low, know your boundaries and fearlessly guard them.
A laugh a day keeps the stress away. Surround yourself with people that put a smile on your face, adopt a light hearted attitude, and try to see the humor in every situation.
9. Arrive Early
Nothing skyrockets your stress like rushing. Plan to be punctual so time doesn't turn into a burden.
10. Adopt the Mantra "I AM ENOUGH, I HAVE ENOUGH"
Feelings of scarcity and lack give way to extreme perfectionism which contributes to living in a state of stressful despair. Remember, you have everything you need right here and right now.
11. Gotta Be Grateful!
Wake up and express gratitude everyday. The little things matter the most and can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.
12. Forgive Others
The holidays, more than any other time of year, send us swirling into a state of nostalgia filled with happy and not so happy memories. When you come across an old grudge, use it as an opportunity to heal your past and move on with peace.
13. Forgive Yourself
Shouldering guilt or regret over a past you cannot change weighs you, and everyone else, down. Free yourself by looking towards a future where you make better choices and you can once and for all wipe the slate clean.
14. Let Go of the Urge to Fight a Losing Battle
We all have these familiar places of tension and disagreements with family members. Mom or Dad always know how to push our buttons and can regress us faster than a time transporter. Resist falling back into these dynamics by not engaging in circular arguments.
15. Make a Calming Playlist!
Listening to music can elevate one's mood instantaneously and send stress packing. Take some time to compile a few of your favorite healing songs to have at your fingertips when you start to feel too swept up in the holiday whirlwind.
16. Take the Long Way Home
Shift your perspective and get clarity by changing up your usual routine. Your mind will appreciate the new scenery and you might get some fresh ideas for more creative gift giving!
Sometimes you just need to shake, shake, shake and nothing helps you get loose like dancing!
18. Nurtured by Nature
Nothing humbles us more than standing amidst nature in all of it's massive glory. Take a step back from your life's challenges and be hugged by the arms of the massive ocean, gazed upon by a towering redwood tree, or watch all the hustle and bustle below while looking down from a mountain peak.
A little reminder of how small you actually are resets your stress level and helps you stay grounded.
19. Walk it Off!
A brisk 5 minute walk can get your blood pumping and that fresh flood of oxygen can flush away stagnant energy and renew your spirit.
20. Do Something Creative
Feel free to express it all. During the holidays we often feel a need to stuff more than the turkey! Pent up energy, unspoken words, and incessant mental chatter lead to stress. Let it all out by giving your inner artist permission to play without any rules or restrictions.
21. Sweat it Out!
A good endorphin high never fails to boost your mood, and luckily nowadays you have hundreds of exercise options. All you need is a 20 minute dedicated session to maximize your cardiovascular health and get a hit of those feel good vibes.
Both sexual and non-sexual touch release oxytocin, the love hormone, that sends the signal to your brain that all is well in the world. Try not to isolate yourself, stay connected with others and sit close enough to get cozy!
23. Walk Your Dog
Over the years, research suggests that pet owners live longer, have higher levels of the "happy" hormones serotonin and dopamine, and have less anxious outbursts than their non-pet owner counterparts. Whatever the reason for it, pets keep people healthier and fight off anxiety which leads to stress induced disease.
24. Unplug from Social Media
Social media provides tools to help us stay in contact with loved ones near and far, however, the daily updates and constant chatter can take up enormous amounts of valuable time. Go on a social media detox a few times a week and notice how much time you regain!
25. Limit Your Caffeine
That extra egg nog latte might tempt you into believing that extra energy boost will keep you more alert for late night gift wrapping, but your nervous system perceives those jitters as stress.
Sound can heal and transform. Whether you choose to use your voice in the shower or to chant "OM" with your yoga community, those good vibrations will create resonance or feelings of connection that keep stress levels low.
27. Let the Sun Shine In!
While excess sun exposure is linked to skin cancer, not enough sunlight has been associated with increased seasonal depression which occurs most often during the winter months. The key is finding balance. Make some time to clear away the shadows and bask in the light.
28. Stop and Smell the Roses
Aromatherapy works because smell, the strongest sense, has the power to influence mood instantly. Lemon, lavender, rose, and peppermint are a few scents known to improve mood, boost your concentration level, and reduce mental and physical stress.
29. Get Dirty to Get Grounded
Walking barefoot in the sand, putting your hands in the dirt, or playing in the snow reconnects you with the earth and all the support you really have!
30. Bask in Some Bubbles
Nothing beats the blues like a hot bubble bath, and if it suits you, why not pop a bottle of the bubbly? A sip of champagne or sparkling wine in moderation can lift your mood and alleviate excess stress.
31. Give Without Expectation
Yogis boast that selfless service and unconditional love remove samskaras, or karmic binds, that prevent awareness of spiritual liberation. The holiday season celebrates the blissful feelings that only exist by giving to someone else without expecting anything in return for personal benefit or gain. When you lose sight of this stress levels mount.
Instead, remember the true meaning of the season and revel in the natural healing that only occurs through generosity.
32. Receive Gifts of Self Love and Compassion
Change what you can and accept what you can't. The giving season includes giving yourself these gifts. Love yourself.
What are some of the ways you combat holiday depression? Do you have anything to add to the list above? Share with us below!