The holidays are often a bittersweet time of year. Amid all of the parties, family gatherings and general joyousness, there can be some strong feelings of loneliness, financial stress and annoyance. (Triple the annoyance when you're the only one sweating while standing in freezing cold weather, filling up on price-inflated gas!) It's suggested that the amount of people who would rather skip the last month of the year is close to 25%, says New York psychologist Jay Seitz. Ouch!
Here are seven suggestions on ways to beat the blues and keep your sanity this December, and enjoy yourself more than you think you will:
- Hang out with like-minded people. It's difficult to be the only one in the room who isn't belting out Christmas carols like their lives depend on it. If you can joke about your bah-humbugging to others who understand, chances are you will see the lighter side of things a little bit easier.
- Don't bog yourself down with giant to-do lists. If keeping an insane schedule literally makes you insane, then don't do it. Make time for yourself, and allow yourself to be lazy. I dare you!
- Chill out. Attend a couple of yoga classes a week, or set aside 10 minutes a day to meditate by yourself. Breathe deeply, and if you start to get worked up, then close your eyes and tune everything out for one full minute. Keep calm, and carry on. If this slogan was meant to keep innocent bystanders of World War II focused and comforted, then I'm sure it can help the sisterhood who may be in the throes of perimenopause and menopause...
- Don't let your Type-A personality take over. Keep that chick under control! Nobody is as bothered by your imperfections as you are. Remember that.
- Life sometimes gives lemons. Or stupid people. Or really bad drivers. Know that jerks exist, and they will find you from time to time. WHEN this happens (not IF), let the experience go immediately. Water off a duck's back and all that. Breathe, and let it go. Don't let yourself become one of them...it'll only make things worse.
- Laugh. 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.
- If you are feeling lonely, that's OK. Acknowledge it, and reflect on it. Know that there are others who feel lonely, too. Like tough times before now, this too shall pass. Exercise really helps with improving overall mood, as well as increased circulation, better sleep, and regulating appetite.
If you think you may be dealing with depression, and not just a case of holiday blues, then here are a few additional resources to provide extra assistance:
- Depressiontoolkit.org provides a summary level overview of depression and menopause including symptoms and treatment strategies.
- Hormones! From PMS to menopause
- How Different Antidepressants Work
- Hormonal Health Profile offers a "natural approach to hormonal balance."
- The Doctor is IN Menopause Mondays: Menopause and Depression with Dr. Julia Frank
What are YOU going to do to ensure you have a safe, HAPPY, and smooth holiday season?
Remember: Reaching out in IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
About Ellen Dolgen
Ellen Dolgen is a Health and Wellness Advocate, Menopause Awareness Expert, Author, Speaker and health blogger.
Ellen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a frequent guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and is a regular contributor on Huff/Post 50 along with blogging for many leading women's health sites. Ellen has dedicated herself to women's wellness through a wide breadth of activities ranging from being a founding board member of the UCSD Student Wellness Center, working with pharmaceutical companies in helping them to effectively address women's health needs, serving on hospital advisory boards and advocating for cardiovascular health.
Ellen's motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!