Sunday, November 21, 2010

Battle The Blues

I've read that many people find themselves in a deep state of depression during the holiday season. Research has found that depression is enormously demanding both emotionally and physically, and fighting depression is a huge battle. Mental health professionals say you must make a commitment to yourself if you are going to win this fight. While I don't think I'm depressed right now, I do feel like I'm just a mess. I am so disorganized (or is it unorganized?), whatever, I'm it. And while I wouldn't characterize myself as being in the depths of despair, I am feeling sort of 'blah' and 'blue', and I do feel like a roller coaster of emotions at this time of year, and I do feel physically and emotionally drained. So I was happy to come across this advice.

Helpful tips to ward off depression:

1. Commit yourself to exercise, force yourself if you must, exercise is a mood elevator.

2. Eat small, and eat often, nurture yourself with nutrition, and don't forget to indulge yourself once in awhile.

3. Identify the causes of your depression but don't dwell on them. Release your feelings, talk to a good friend or two, or if you don't feel that you can pour your heart out to anyone , pour your heart out to yourself. Keep a journal.

4. Express yourself through art, writing, drawing, even doodling can be cathartic. Or concentrate on a favorite hobby, that too can be very therapeutic.

5. Reach out. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is reach out and help another when we are feeling even too helpless and hopeless to help ourselves, but helping others can be the best medicine of all. Volunteer your time at a local nursing home, hospital, school, or homeless shelter. Or start a collection to help those less fortunate, at the holidays or any time of year you could collect toys for children who would otherwise do without, or maybe a food drive donated to families in need.

6. Start a project. Nothing too big or overwhelming, make sure it is a project you can finish. Don't commit yourself to tackling the job of finally getting all your photos into albums, just commit to going through a few old photos and finish one small album, don't clean and organize your whole desk, just clean out one desk drawer, and don't try to tackle cleaning out your whole closet, just find three things you can live without and donate them.

7. Count your Blessings. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we have much to be thankful for. Take pen and paper in hand and list all the positives in your life.

8. At the holidays remember that less is more. There is no rule that says you have to 'go all out' every year. Let this be the year you commit to scaling back. Don't take out every decoration from storage, do the bare minimum when decorating. Decide this year that you will gather in the kitchen to bake cookies together (instead of slaving over the stove by yourself making a big meal), and then order a pizza and enjoy it along with your fresh-baked cookies sitting at the table with your family and friends. Do a buffet instead of a formal 'sit-down' meal. Decide on the traditions that mean the most to you and your loved ones and concentrate on those few.

9. Socialize. When feeling depressed it is easy to cocoon yourself away from the world, but that only serves to further descend you into the gloom cavity. A few hours spent with friends can go a long way to lift your spirits.

10. Be prepared to seek treatment. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek help from a professional.

And I'm going to add this one ~ PRAY. No matter which Faith you follow, no matter if you are attached to an organized religion or not , pray. I'm a big believer in the power of prayer, or rather, I'm a big believer in the Power of God, and I'm a big believer in the empowerment He bestows on us when we seek Him.

How do you battle the 'blues'?

Wishing you all a very Blessed and 'blues-free' season!



    I have been quite sad amidst my joy. It is because of my oldest daughter who is estranged from us in the worst of ways. I have no place in her life and she has decided not to have a place in mine My heart aches beyond measure.
    I love and needed to read all of your ideas of how to not feel depressed. I honor my feelings about this loss but I don't stay in the sadness. I balance it with counting my blessings. I get outside every day and stretch and breathe and move. I talk about how I feel every day. I cry, I laugh, I rant and rave and then I get back to the business at hand. I ask everyone to pray for her that she finds her way home. I keep the candles in the windows on all the time and the light of my hearts love aglow always.
    "Thank you" for knowing.

    Love to you always my friend
    peace and hope.....

  2. Eileen, I am sure this post will help many people. I have known great sadness in my life but don't think I have known depression as I know some have. My heart goes out to them, of all your good points I think prayer is the one that works best for me........:-)Hugs

  3. Hi Eileen,
    We've had some pretty poor Christmases in the past. It always would bother me when I couldn't buy all of the things that I wanted to for my children. The one thing that I found to be THE most helpful during these low times is to go to Advent services every week.
    They really help me to FEEL and REMEMBER what the Christmas season is meant to be.
    This can be so difficult to feel and remember with all of the ads that are thrown at us before Christmas.
    I find that sitting in church during this time of year to be especially comforting.
    Love Di ♥

  4. Eileen, this is very good advice! I am going to take the part about the small meals and the exercise to heart. I think we get going in circles and forget to do those things, and then we don't feel well. I have been guilty of that lately, and I found myself sick from overdoing and stress. But I feel much, much better today because I got a LOT done yesterday. WHEW! :-) More workmen are lined up for Monday so we start all over again. LOL!

    Thank you, my friend, for being so kind on that interview over at Eddie's. I love you, too, and I consider myself blessed by having you as a blog friend. You are THE BEST, and I hope you know that!

    Love you...


    Sheila :-)

  5. Great post. I think I have been fortunate to have had family and friends during the holidays to support and love me so I can't say I have had depression during this season. I pray for those who do suffer from it though! Wishing you well! Cathy

  6. are so right about this time of the year heightening depresssion in those who suffer from it. Your tips are wonderful ones....and I send you a special hug from me to you....hoping that you always feel it.

  7. I'm pretty much a MESS, too! I think all of the suggestion were excellent. Have a blessed thanksgiving day, Elaine.