How to Overcome Seasonal Depression

med-1044-depressionOverwhelming and stressful feelings can sometimes burden us during the busy holidays.  With to-do lists a mile long and the clock quickly winding down to the big day when the big guy busts through our chimneys, we often forget to take a few moments for ourselves to unwind.

Seasonal depression effects many of us.  If you have found yourself experiencing holiday blues by  exhibiting the spirit of the Grinch rather than that of jolly ol’ St. Nick, try using one of the following tips from one of our expert contributors to help overcome depression and restore peace and joy back into your holiday.

7 Ways to Get into the Holiday Spirit and Elevate your Perspective

Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas that can help to rejuvenate your body and your mood over the holidays.

1. Treat your self to a massage.

Even if going to a spa is out of the budget, there are chair and hand held massagers available at stores like Walmart and Target that can be used in the comfort of your own living room. If its just too cold to go outside, the next best thing to a massage is a hot bubble bath with some soothing music in the background as helps increase the blood flow to muscles and allows you to relax. Music itself can be a relaxing way of helping you take your mind off your worries as it is the universal language of life. From holiday classics to jazz, indie to fusion the secret is to turn the volume down so low that it is almost imperceptible. This little trick allows you to focus on listening and helps silence racing thoughts.

2. Unwind with a relaxing walk.

Chronic stress can produce too much cortisol, a hormone that can ramp up appetite — and lead to overeating. A simple exercise like walking, just 30 minutes a day helps to incorporate a great way to to minimize gaining weight and stress reduction all in one.

3. Treat yourself to a little R&R.

Nap time. Too little sleep causes slowed metabolism and increased appetite — risking overeating, unhealthy food choices, and inactivity. Most of us don’t get enough rest and curling up with a good book, having some hot cider or tea before lying down can help us fall asleep faster when one is just too stressed to relax.

4. Keep finances in check.

Cutting your expenses is a good idea for any holiday season. Studies show that financial stress is one of the main reasons adults worry. This concern can be transmitted to your kids. While most kids don’t bear the financial responsiblity of their parents, they can often sense something is wrong. Make holiday cards and gifts at home this year instead of buying expensive tinsel and trappings. Friends and family will find these cards and gifts more valuable than anything produced in a factory and shipped in from another country.

5. Go Zen.

Take up Restorative Yoga, Tai Chi or Meditation ! These mind body strategies incorporate improving posture, relaxing and stretching to improve balance and coordination while simultaneously decreasing stress. Take time to breathe deeply and say a prayer, or just sit down in a quiet place and simply meditate with relative peace and quiet.

6. Release Inner Tension

Never underestimate the power of a good love life and reconnecting with your spouse. Enough said.

7. Take time to laugh.

Comedy is good for the soul. Whether its rented movies, downloaded comedy sketches or even going to improv or karyoke, a good laugh goes a long way. Consider taking your kids or young family members skating, skiing, or snow boarding and keeping everyone engaged in a lighthearted physical activity. Laughter lowers stress hormones and improves blood flow, which increases your energy levels. The more energy you have, the less likely you’ll be to be overwhelmed by depression that sometimes come with the Holidays.

Moshe Lewis, Physician, University of California, San Francisco

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