I think I've turned a corner. I almost hesitate to jinx it, but for about 10 years this was a rough time of year for me, and so far...I'm okay.
Everyone has their own “triggers” but some of the ways I’ve learned to defend against the blues, you may find helpful too.
First, eliminate unnecessary stress.
I’ve gone on strike when it comes to cooking Christmas dinner and our few remaining family members go out to a big Christmas brunch at a lovely hotel. It’s a treat and we all enjoy it.
I used to let my husband do all the decorating. I didn’t complain about the lights and garland absolutely everywhere and he didn’t complain that I wasn't helping.
Second, replace the things you miss.
I read a study recently that receiving gifts makes people happy, but giving gifts makes the happiness last longer. No wonder I missed shopping for family members. It was the giving I missed! Even in this economy you can find bargains or make little gifts and give them to people who have been good to you during the year. You can even stop by your local fire house or police station with something—just because they’re there.
Third, be good to yourself. Do things that make you happy.
I bought a timeshare in Florida for the first week of each year. It gives me something to look forward to and makes my workaholic husband take some time off. We always have a wonderful time, if for no other reason than having lots and lots of “vacation sex.” Now there’s a great way to relieve the tension of the holidays when they’re finally over!
Are you struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford to do anything that spendy? Well, I empathize. I used to be a single parent and almost every penny went to pay rent and bills. My daughter and I made a list of all the things we liked to do that cost little or no money. Try it, you might be surprised.
Here are some of the things from our list:
Go to the perfume counter at any department store and try the free samples.
Do each others’ hair and make-up.
If you have a fireplace, enjoy gazing at it or toast marshmallows.
Feed the birds and watch them from your window.
Put flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep, ring the bell and run away.
Sing along to the radio.
Read books from the library. Especially fun if you read to each other.
Watch a comedy on TV.
Go to a music store and listen to new selections with headphones.
Find a store with music boxes and play as many of them as you want to. (It’s good for them to be played. Not good for them to sit unused for long periods of time.)
Make your own bath salts. (Just Epsom salt and a few drops of fragrant oil.)
Use them and take a long, hot bath. (Good for arthritis.)
Write to an old friend.
Make a new friend.
Finally, count your blessings. There’s always something to feel good about. Do you have a place to live? A car? Two feet you can walk on? Two arms you can hug with? A pet? A friend? There are always people who have less than you or have to deal with circumstances you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.”