The holidays are here, and you have two options. Grab the bag of chocolate and dive into that depression, or tell the holiday blues to go away.
Because when we say you're facing the most depressing time of the year, we mean really depressed. Two thirds of American women report feeling depressed during the holiday season, and unless Santa's got Prozac in his bag, it's up to you to fight it.
Here are five surefire ways to keep the blues at bay. Consider it our gift to you:
1. Just Say No. One of the reasons depression rates spike this time of year is because the National Women's Health Resource Center found we're trying too hard to have the "perfect" holiday experience. You're the only one who can take that pressure off, and you can start by declining a few party invites, dropping a few names off that long card list, and deciding to just take it easy.
2. Take a Walk. Spending time with our families is supposed to be good for us, but whoever said that never sat next to your mother when she's had two glasses of eggnog and started commenting on the size of your behind. Get outside, get away, take a breather. The fresh air will feel good, but even more importantly the exercise can actually help thwart depression.
3. Watch What You Eat. It's easy to over-indulge this time of year, but nothing makes us feel more down in the dumps than jeans we can't button. Keeping an eye on your eating will ward off that mood dip. Eating good, healthy foods can also help your mood in and of itself.
4. Turn Off the Tree Lights. Using twinkling lights to set the mood is a holiday special, but part of the reason we're down in the dumps during the winter is the lack of light outside. We need bright lights to mimic the sun and keep our moods elevated. So limit your time spent sitting in a dark room with the tree lights on.
5. Spend Time With Friends. If your family is a drag at the holidays, you need to counteract that with some positive social interactions. As unpopular as it may make you with the family, making your friends a priority can really be better for your well being.
What are you doing to keep your head above water?
Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr