There is no other time of year when the incidence of high-running emotions occur, with all of the frenzy in preparation and anticipation of the holidays, the intensity of familial relationships, the prevalence of disappointment over a myriad of issues, and the aftermath that follows. It’s easy to see why at some point during or immediately following the “tis the season” season that so many people go on to experience sadness, the blues and depression. While in retrospect, it would have been the best move to advise you to hold back on all that effervescence and high hopefulness, and urge you to maintain a commitment to remember your normal self and your normal objectives during all the hustle and bustle. Telling you that you should buy gifts, host parties, attend parties and create some fab new looks for yourself with reserve probably would be of no use before the holidays. Now, however, as the whole season wraps up and another year is imminent, all of those suggestions probably make perfectly good sense now that it’s all said and done.
Here another year has come and gone, and like always, being capped off with a blur of parties, happenings and festivities that take their toll on the strongest of constitutions. Though it can impair our outlook and even our health in a number of ways, stress doesn’t always show up during the time it’s doing its damage–more often becoming apparent in the minutes and days following its departure.
A Little Hindsight Can Help
While knowing this right now may seem like a moot point, it can help you to pace yourself in the future, as well as helping you to understand if and when you suddenly experience a down period, during a time when it would appear that everyone else is still “with the program” of holiday festivities, and cheerfully discussing all of the parties, resolutions and changes they’re anticipating in the new year. The first thing to realize is that there is nothing wrong with how you’re feeling right now. The second thing is that a whole lot of other people are feeling the same way, but they’d never let you know, by the way they’re acting.
Disarm the Blues
Short of setting a rather lame “Be happy and exuberant” as your first listed resolution for 2016, there are tangible steps you can take to create a hopeful bridge from the blues to something more practical. People who are the least impaired by depression and the blues reveal it in their regularity of being engaged in life, particularly in terms of output. Generally, happy people are that way because of one of two reasons: They either don’t have the capacity for understanding or experiencing real life disappointment and tragedy, or they recognize the presence of a “yin-yang” side of life, and in knowing the blues can occur, they work at preventing them, or disarming them when they seem possible. If you get the blues, be thankful that you are not in the first category, while getting busy at making sure that you handle them better from here on. Here’s what works for successful blues overcomers:
- They Get Enough Rest: This covers a broad range of possibilities, from sleeping at night to pacing themselves through the day. They don’t over commit and they learn how to delegate.
- They Make Time for Regular Exercise: Even as little as 20 minutes a day of brisk walking can be all the difference. Begin looking for opportunities to get active by joining a Zumba class, adult sports league or begin a dog walking service.
- They Guard Their Thoughts: The thoughts you allow to bounce around in your head should be closely regulated, and reduced to only the kind that can help your productivity. All other thinking–ruminating over an unresolved issue, sentimental longing, making comparative assessments and even focusing on past mistakes are all blues-fuel. If you can’t differentiate between healthy thinking and unhealthy thinking, perhaps you should dispense with all thinking for a while.
- They Aren’t Taken by Surprise: They don’t look for things going awry, but they have resolved to redefine disappointments by calling them “opportunities.” Something as simple as changing the name you give an event is more powerful than you might imagine. They’re still disappointments, but at the same time, they are truly opportunities to respond differently, to reevaluate, to change expectations and all disappointments are opportunities to become wiser, which ultimately means fewer chances for the blues to take hold.
- Set Some Realistic Resolutions: Avoid making colossal New Year’s resolutions that set you up to fail. If you want to learn to play the guitar, don’t resolve to master it, just imagine that you will learn how to play one simple song on the guitar. Set goals that you can easily master. If you want to lose 30 lbs., resolve to lose 5. Success breeds success. And you’ll never see “the blues” occupying the same space as genuine “success.”
- Balance the Imbibing: Too many people begin the New Year with a massive hangover. The entire holiday season, with all its party spreads and cocktails can cause even the low-key drinkers to overdo things. Sometimes, simply returning to a moderate level of alcohol consumption will work wonders, as alcohol can act as a depressive agent. Go back to the second piece of advice, and rock the New Year the right way!
- Make this year a HAPPY one, by working at it.