But Christmas is also right when some people are starting to experience the full effects of seasonal affective disorder. SAD is triggered by the onset of the cold and longer nights. So it’s worth noticing if your depression is in line with seasonal changes each year. Does your depression feel totally beyond your control? Does it start near Christmas, then clear up fully near spring?
Tis the season for… comparison?
But why do things like debt and family issues become more of a problem at Christmas? When we have the same issues year round?
Christmas is a public occasion. People around us share their plans, we watch people shopping for gifts, going on vacation. Social media becomes an onslaught of perfect family celebrations.
Every morning, even if it’s when your brush your teeth, come up with three to five things you are grateful for.
Try not to just run through the words but to actuallyfeel the gratitude. If the thing you are thinking of doesn’t evoke a true feeling, then find something else. If mince pies makes you feel a rush of joy that thinking about good health doesn’t, then it’s actually more effective to focus on the pies!
It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you can’t bear the gym, just go for a walk. If you can’t stop the sugar, add in a salad.
Each mini choice to take care of yourself is a message to your brain that you matter.
4. Say no.
One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to say no. No to the Christmas sweater you hate, eating the ham your mother made when you are trying to go vegan, no to the ‘friends reunion’ that leaves you feeling awful for weeks on end.
Pleasing others at the expense of pleasing ourselves never works. And the more we say no to others, the more we say yes to ourselves, and create time for the things that actually make us feel better.