The holiday season can be down right depressing for many people-having to deal with difficult relatives (or being lonely), financial worries, overwhelming to-do lists, exacerbated by the lack of sunlight and exercise. While his recommendations seem like common sense, Dr. Amen suggests 5 things that can help, that those of us who have depended on our favorite substances are not used to doing, starting with saying, “No.”
Learn to say no. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation that comes your way, and you don’t have to offer to host every event for your family and friends. When you receive an invitation, say “I’ll think about it.” Then decide if the event fits in your schedule.
Skip the alcohol this season. Alcohol is a depressant that impairs brain function. Overindulging can increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
Focus on what you’re grateful for. Dwelling on what’s wrong with your holiday season releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel bad. Make it a practice to start your day by writing down five things you’re grateful for.
Learn from the past but don’t relive it. Don’t let bad memories of past holiday events prevent you from enjoying the present. See what you can learn from those past events. If you suffered emotional trauma that resurfaces every year, consider a unique therapy known as EMDR to help you deal with it.
Reach out. If you don’t have a significant other, don’t live near your family, or can’t see your family for some reason, you may feel lonely. Reach out to friends you can spend time with or volunteer to help out at a local food bank or shelter.