Although many people call the holiday season “the most wonderful time of the year,” not everyone spends December basking in warm, fuzzy feelings.
In fact, the holidays can be incredibly painful for some. Fall-outs with family, breakups, financial stresses, losing loved ones, and difficult holiday memories can all bring about feelings of sadness and anxiety during a time when the rest of the world seems to be celebrating.
If you’re suffering from the “holiday blues,” you might feel overwhelmed by the holiday cheer on every street corner and radio station. But you don’t have to spend the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s feeling miserable. Here are a few simple steps you can take to elevate your mood and bring a little joy to your world.
1. Schedule “Friend Dates”
Spending some quality time with your closest friends is a great way to shake the blues. Fight the urge to curl up on the couch every day and push yourself to go on a few outings with your favorite people.
“Hibernation and isolation can feed a depressed mood,” NYC-based psychotherapist Sarah Eckfeldt told CNN. “Surround yourself with friends, even if you don’t feel like it. Not only are you distracting yourself from your possibly blue thoughts, but being out with others provides you with opportunities for pleasure and joy.”
2. Get A Jump On Your New Year’s Resolutions
Why wait until January to start on your resolutions? If you’re one of the countless Americans who resolve to eat healthier and get fit in the new year, now is the perfect time to start. Food therapy might seem tempting, especially with all the holiday indulgences surrounding you, but going the opposite direction will help you feel physically, mentally and emotionally healthier. The CNN article notes that exercise-induced endorphins can elevate your mood, and if you work out with a friend, you can get in your daily sweat session and buddy-time all at once.
Maybe your resolution is to learn a new skill, do volunteer work, or finally make that career move. Carve out some time each day devoted to this promise to yourself. Laying the groundwork now will give you a head start come New Year’s Day, and the idea of a “new year, new you” gives you something to look forward to.
3. Make An Effort To Meet Someone New
Being single during the holidays can be hard, especially if the breakup wound is fresh. Get back on the horse and try to spend some time with new people. Look up singles events near your hometown, visit a local nightlife spot, or sign up for a dating website or app. But proceed with caution: Cyber-scammers know that some people using dating apps around the holidays are feeling lonely and vulnerable, and may create fraudulent profiles designed to trick singles out of their money or personal information. Have fun and be open to new romance, but protect yourself by staying vigilant about suspicious behavior or requests.
4. Reconnect With Long-Lost Friends And Relatives
Getting back in touch with people you’ve drifted apart from can help you find a renewed sense of kinship and belonging. While you can find most people from your past on social media, you might not be able to track everyone down – and even if you find their name, it might not be the person you’re looking for. Tools like BeenVerified allow you to search official public records for addresses and aliases, and even reverse-search by their last-known phone number or email address, so you can potentially find that middle school BFF or the cousin you haven’t seen since you were kids.