12-21-2014 by 

The build-up begins while summer is still in the air and by the time the holidays roll around, we've been bombarded with thousands of messages designed to create feelings of joy and good cheer. If the happiest time of the year leaves you in the cold, follow these seven tips to minimize the holiday blues:

Tip 1. Don't be a Perfectionist

You aren't superhuman and trying to achieve perfection is a surefire invitation for disappointment. You may mislabel a gift or scorch the apple pie, or you may forget to dust the piano. So what? Life goes on. Remember, if you greet a small disaster with grace and a sense of humor, you may create a memory that your family will recall fondly for many years. [1]

Tip 2. Check Your Expectations

Check your expectations and remember that your hopes and wishes for the holidays may be different from the people around you. Don't depend on your loved ones to make your holiday joyful and remember that they aren't perfect either. You may as well face the facts -- you aren't always in control no matter how hard you try; and some family members may be difficult, no matter what.

Tip 3. Get Plenty of Rest

The holidays demand a great deal of energy and you're more likely to feel blue and downright cranky if you aren't feeling well. Go to bed early once in awhile or allow yourself to sleep in a few minutes. A ten-minute nap can do wonders for your mood and your energy level.

Tip 4. Slow Down

Slow down, breath, and carve out some quiet time for reflection and peace. Find your "no" button and don't agree to every party, function or volunteer request that comes your way. If you don't enjoy an event or it isn't meaningful to you, pass it by.

Tip 5. Make Less Financial Commitments

If you're still paying holiday bills on the Fourth of July, it's time to trim expenses. Commit to a less commercial holiday that revolves around people instead of things. Set a limit and stick to it. Consider low-cost or non-monetary gifts such as homemade cookies or coupons for a Facebook lesson, back massage or a trip to the zoo. [2]

Tip 6. Brighten the Lives of the Unfortunate and Lonely

Brighten the lives of other people. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter, sing carols at a senior center or walk dogs at an animal shelter. If you're feeling a little blue and sorry for yourself, you'll be amazed how helping others can boost your spirits.

Tip 7. Take Care of Yourself

The holidays are time for celebration and temptation is everywhere, but you'll feel better both physically and emotionally if you limit alcohol and sugary, fat-laden, high-carbohydrate foods. Take time for exercise. If you're cooped up indoors, a short walk in the fresh air is bound to energize you. [3] Most important of all - try to enjoy yourself!

Peace and Happy Holidays from the Staff of Higher Mood!

Mood Keywords: sad, future, satisfaction
2. Duncan, Steve. "Avoiding the Holiday (and Post Holiday) Blues. http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/wwwpb-archives/home/blues.html  no date.
3. "Tips for beating the holiday blues" Human Development & Family Studies http://hdfs.chhs.colostate.edu/news/item/?ID=152026 November 4, 2014.
Image Credit: John McAllister © 123RF.com (used under license)
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