Coping During the Holidays

Photo by Hide Obara on Unsplash

The time has been upon us for a little while now. There's no mistaking the holiday music that you can't avoid unless you're very deliberate about it.

In a couple of weeks, we will be in another decade, 2020.

In the meantime, we are in the last days of 2019, and I don't know about you, but this year has been very challenging for me.

I wanted to put together a resource that everyone can access, no matter what their age. Mental health is paramount, especially during times like this.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

My baseline tends to be on the melancholic side, even though I can give the impression that I'm my usual extroverted self. I've not been feeling extroverted as of late. My coping skills at times haven't been able to rise to particular events and situations.

As an older woman (that's still funny to type!), I've seen a lot during my lifetime, and I'd bet more than most. It's not a competition, though.

One thing that's not up for argument is that I've led an unconventional life that most people deem "interesting". I've made a lot of mistakes, hurt a lot of people, and ultimately hurt myself the most when I didn't learn from them at the time.

I've been bummed out for the last several months and the holidays haven't helped if history is any indication.

I want to share a resource with you that I've been reading for YEARS. It's free and is just a click away.

21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You're Depressed 

Summarized and paraphrased below.

  1. Know that you're not alone.
  2. Understand that "Happy People" are acting out of concern.
  3. Enlist the help of a professional.
  4. Understand that antidepressants will only do so much.
  5. Pick up a paintbrush, pencil, an activity that you've gotten joy from.
  6. Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals.
  7. While doing #3, get bloodwork done to check everything out.
  8. Watch the Nightly Business News on PBS to bore you to sleep.
  9. Learn how to meditate. Focus on your breath.
  10. Face a window as often as you can at work and at home.
  11. Cry as it's better out than in.
  12. Cut off any "friends" that believe you're lazy, not trying hard enough, etc.
  13. Limit your time with people who drain you.
  14. You're not alone but you're also not unique. Everyone has sh*t to deal with.
  15. Let go or be dragged, as the old Buddhist saying goes.
  16. Wear clothes that make you feel confident.
  17. Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague.
  18. Simple exercise, if possible.
  19. Depression will lie to you.
  20. Reach out to someone.
  21. Forgive yourself.
This list is just as relevant now as it was the first time I read it and I hope that it's helpful for you, too.

Time passes and I know that feelings come and go, but sometimes it's really hard. I acknowledge each feeling and do my best to let it pass.

How I felt however long ago isn't who I am and I do not have to act upon intense feelings and emotions.

Our feelings and emotions are our own and I don't judge them as right or wrong. It's when they exceed your ability to take the high road that you need to keep it in check.

For me, that means reaching out to old friends, seeing my therapist, and adhering to a consistent sleep and eating schedule. I avoid going on social media, where the risk of comparison is just in your face.

Carefully cultivated feeds are just that, designed to evoke something akin to perfection, which we all know doesn't exist.

I also avoid sad music, even if it's low and in the background.

Oh! Speaking of, one of my professors told me of this amazing song that's scientifically proven by neuroscientists to reduce UP TO 65% of your anxiety. Hey, I'll take ANY percentage. 

I find this to be relaxing and it also helps me focus, especially when writing blog posts like this.

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