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Tips for Those Holiday Blues and Blahs

04 Dec

Hello there.

Here in Northeast Ohio, ‘winter depression’ actually starts around Hallowe’en. In fact, when I was a practicing therapist, no matter where I lived – Chicago, Boston, Washington DC or Cleveland - the phone calls for appointments always ramped up that first week in November, and stayed intense and plentiful like that for weeks. Sometimes the calls were from new people; sometimes from ex-clients feeling the need for a tune-up. But always, it was this time of year when the phone rang off the hook.

In the old days, we therapists only thought it had to do with holiday blues and stress. Certainly that’s a big part of it for some folks. But I also think it has to do with shorter days and starvation for sunlight. (And of course, there’s starvation and there’s starvation. Here in Cleveland, where we have cloudy “lake effect” in winter, it’s Starvation.)

In any case, here are some things you can do for depression:

  • Make yourself get out of bed early, even if it’s the last thing on earth you feel like doing. Sleeping late feeds depression and wreaks even more havoc on your sleep pattern.
  • Move. Exercise. If you’re depressed your body really won’t feel like it, so it has to be an act of will, trusting that, in this case, your brain knows best. Your body will agree once you get rolling.
  • Eat with care. Depressed people tend to crave sugar, probably because it will give you an immediate zap of energy, but soon you crash and it will depress you more. Same with alcohol. Eat the good, energy-feeding stuff – proteins and some healthy fats are far more likely to lift your spirits and keep them that way.
  • Try some of those special sunlamps – they’re very affordable nowadays. A half hour a day in the morning can make a world of difference. Shine it on yourself while you’re on the treadmill and you’ll get a two-fer.
  • Use guided imagery, meditation, breathwork. Our Health Journeys imagery for Depression and Sleep can be a big help; as can Traci Stein’s Self-Esteem Pack. Amy Weintraub’s Breathe to Beat the Blues, is another terrific resource. We have a ton of great stuff – check out the offerings on the additional suggestions, and let the sound samples guide your picks.
  • Ask for help…. From your friends and family, assuming you haven’t worn them out already; and, if you have, go to a counselor, a therapist or a support group.
  • Body work can do you a world of good about now. Get a massage or a Reiki or Healing Touch treatment or some one-on-one yoga therapy.

All best,

P.S. If you’re looking for an unusual, memorable gift for somebody special, do check out our Holiday Gift Packs for kids and adults, at deeply discounted prices. They offer some unique and long-lasting benefits that will be appreciated and savored for years.