What if we believed that there are no coincidences in life? That even you reading this post is no coincidence. Perhaps you are reading this guide because you’re totally fed up with where you are in your life or like most people, you have done everything you can to prepare for success and that breakthrough continues to evade you. Or you may have a nagging feeling that more potential for happiness and fulfillment is out there for you. Obviously you’re ready for change, I know like most, you probably don’t want your life to stay exactly the same, so that means change, right?
The results you get depend to a large part on where you are in terms of readiness and willingness to change, and although you may feel that you want to change, you may not be quite ready to do so. The truth is for most change means going beyond your fears, it means believing beyond any shadow of doubt that there will be a way. As my late colleague Kelly Murphy said “Everything you want from your dream life is on the other side of fear”
Most New Year’s resolutions fail because the goals you set aren’t always linked into your state of readiness. Unless you’ve done the work to seriously consider your options, and prepared the ground for action, your laudable resolution to lose 20 pounds, or give up smoking, or find the man/woman of your dreams is likely to lose momentum well before the end of January. If that’s the case, nothing is wrong with you, because I believe with enough empowerment, education and encouragement you can create the life you desire and were meant to live. I truly believe when you know better you do better. When you know better you choose better. When you know better you become better. The DrStem Show is a show for and with everyday people faced with challenges of everyday living. It is a show designed to make a positive difference in people’s lives, young and old. The show is also an educational platform, which will feature life experts from all walks of life, authors, coaches, everyday people, interviews, self-improvement segments, and philanthropic forays into world events.
As we begin the holiday season I want to pay particular attention to the holidays, and caring for your mental health. The holiday season is a time full of joy, cheer, parties, and family gatherings. However, for many people, it is a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures, and anxiety about an uncertain future, holiday blues that at times could lead to suicide or giving up.
What Causes Holiday Blues?
Many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as: headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January first. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.
Coping with stress and depression during the holidays:
- Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
- Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely. Recognize that everyone is responding to the current situation differently. Allow yourself to feel sadness, anger or lonely feelings. Nurture yourself. Take some time out each day to care for and celebrate yourself.
- Make a budget and stick to it. Financial worries add more stress. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. Spend what you can afford. Seek out free activities.
- When traveling, allow extra time. Recognize that delays may occur because of increased security.
- Try a new way of celebrating. Attend a celebration of another faith or community or give the gift of your time to someone else.
- Helping others can also help you feel better. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, buy a present for a child in need or visit people in nursing homes.
- Find time to indulge yourself in some sun. Studies reveal that exposure to early morning sunlight was effective in relieving seasonal depression, or holiday blues.
- Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.
- Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
- Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
- Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.
- Try to stay in the present. Look forward to the future. Life is full of changes. Consider what is important in your life and good about these times.