Take control of your holiday to fend off the blues

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Politics and political correctness have wormed their way into “the most wonderful time of the year.”

It’s almost impossible to avoid taking sides when deciding whether to say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!”

Someone attuned to the #MeToo movement noticed enough hint of sexual assault in the classic yuletide tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” (“Hey, what’s in this drink?”) that some radio stations now refuse to play it.

Contemporary sensitivities aside, however, it’s long been a struggle to preserve meaning in the face of frantic activities that accompany the approaching holidays.

Take a deep breath, set some priorities and plan ahead to avoid the blues that can overtake us as the year winds down.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Service’s Division of Division of Behavioral Health offers some helpful strategies:

Stick to a budget: Decide what you can afford to spend and stick to it. There are plenty of free holiday activities that put no added pressure on the family budgets, such as checking out holiday books from the library, checking out neighborhood light displays or watching a movie at home.

Manage expectations: The holidays don’t have to be perfect to be joyful. Accept the fact that families, relationships and traditions change over the years.

Say no to excessive commitments: Saying yes when you want to say no is a recipe for resentment.

Reach out for support and companionship: Connect with friends and family members if you feel lonely or isolated.

Volunteer: Lonely? Consider volunteering to help a neighbor or friend in need, or working a shift at a local soup kitchen to make meaningful connections. Complete a random act of kindness.

Celebrate responsibly: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and do not mix it with medications. Enjoy food, non-alcoholic drinks, music and conversation at social events.

Build in time for yourself: Do at least one thing you enjoy every day, no matter how hectic your schedule. Get plenty of sleep. Take a walk, listen to music, or read a new book.

Take the season one day at a time: Focus on things you can control and accept help when it’s offered.

Eat healthily and drink plenty of water: Sensible meals and keeping hydrated will help stabilize your energy levels. Have a healthy snack before holiday gatherings so that you don’t overindulge.

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