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How to Beat the Doldrums

I was on a sailing race recently where there was so little wind that it took 20 minutes just to get across the start line. And then it got worse! After two hours, we had gone only a few miles. All the boats were slowly turning around in place - we were literally in the doldrums. The race became a contest of patience - mind over circumstance. We couldn't change the wind but we could choose to stay in the race and make the best of it. Depression is like this. Our lives are sometimes not working for us. We cannot change our situation. We can only somehow deal with our difficulties until our circumstances improve.
Weekly Help for Depression Recovery
You Can Have Happy Holidays!

You are probably thinking that I don't understand. You are depressed and don't feel capable of having a happy anything. I know what that feels like - I've been there. But I have also learned a few things that depression treatment research tells us can make your holiday brighter:

  • Have realistic expectations - If things are not going well in your life right now the holidays will not transform you overnight. But there are probably some things that you can focus on that you can enjoy if you allow yourself to do so. See if you can choose something small to revel in. It might be the beauty of a snowfall, a family member who makes you feel special or just being thankful for whatever you do have.

  • Take care of yourself - There is this tremendous temptation during the holidays to let our eating, drinking, exercising and sleep habits deteriorate. We feel we are too busy to do better and think that we will improve in the New Year. Anything you can do now to maintain yourself physically will serve as a foundation for feeling better.

  • Manage your stress – If shopping or the cost of gifts or a difficult person stresses you out, avoid them! Do something every day for yourself that is satisfying. This could be doing something that you are good at, helping someone else or using stress management techniques like meditation.

  • Don't isolate yourself – It is tempting to avoid going to holiday parties or services. You may believe that you need to wait to feel better to be with other people. You may wait a long time so instead, get dressed, get out and see if others may not help you to get to a better place.
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