Ellen writes regularly over at EllenDolgen.com. This article was originally published there.
For many of us the holidays can be a bittersweet time. Despite all of the parties, family gatherings, and general joy we experience, there can be feelings of loneliness and annoyance. Anxiety, worries, and financial stress.
For the menopausal women, you may experience triple the annoyance when you’re the only one having a hot flash even though you’re standing in freezing cold weather.
Here are seven suggestions on ways to beat the holiday blues and get more joy out of the holiday season:
- Reduce your stress. Don’t bog yourself down with giant to-do lists. Take a critical look at your holiday planning. Are you expecting too much out of yourself? Be realistic, pair it down.
- Chill out. Consider trying TM (Transcendental Meditation). Many medical professionals, corporate executives, even celebrities – meditate twice a day for 20 min. These few minutes can change your day and your life.
- Don’t let your Type-A personality take over. Keep that under control. So what if the cookies look like a third grader made them! Every single thing does not have to be perfect to still be fun and delicious. Nobody is as bothered by your imperfections as you are. Remember that.
- Life sometimes gives us lemons, really bad drivers, and grumpy salespeople. Don’t let others rattle you and let the experience go immediately. More than likely they are having a really bad day and just need a smile or someone to be nice to them. Don’t sweat the small stuff (unless of course you are hot flashing).
- Laughter relieves tension. It’s like getting an emotional massage. Do it, and do it often, even if you have to watch funny movies or think of something naughty and awful to get those lips curled up into a smile. Laughter truly is the best medicine. My favorite new TV show is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (on Monday nights on the CW). It’s a hilarious musical comedy. Rachel Bloom just got nominated for a Golden Globe! Definitely worth checking out.
- Exercise. I can’t stress this one enough (no stress intended). Exercise benefits don’t just hit the body. They’ve got the mind covered, too. In addition to treating insomnia and weight gain, exercise may be effective at treating depression, according to a review published in The Cochrane Library. Exercise raises your fitness and feel-good endorphin levels, increasing energy while slashing tension, anger, and fighting menopausal depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. They say just five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
- Life is not a fairytale or Pinterest Post. Don’t feel pressure to be happy. The holidays can be a lonely and sad time. You could be grieving the loss of a loved one, friend or a relationship. My beloved Mom passed away this past summer. These first holidays without her are very difficult, indeed. If you are feeling lonely, that’s okay. Acknowledge it, and reflect on it. Do not isolate yourself. Check out the holiday events in your neighborhood. Consider volunteering to help at your church or a charity of your choice. According to Harvard Medical School, volunteering may be good for the body and the mind.
If you think you may be dealing with depression, and not just a case of holiday blues, then be sure to reach out and get help.
This season, get more joy out of the holidays. Remember: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN.
Wishing you the happiest, merriest, and healthiest holiday ever.
Click here to download Ellen’s free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide To Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause.