Cheer Up, It’s Only the Holidays

BY Terri Bryce Reeves

Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season and while grocery store commercials and Hallmark cards tell us it’s one of the happiest times of the year, sometimes our emotions tell us otherwise.

Having loved ones who live far away, who are emotionally distant, or that have
passed away, can bring feelings of isolation, sadness and anxiety for many.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Start out by not dwelling on the fact that you may be alone on Thanksgiving. Then try the following to beat back any remaining holiday blues:

• Be grateful. Research shows that gratitude is associated with greater happiness. Cultivate gratitude by sending Thanksgiving notes to friends, neighbors and others, thanking them for impacting your life in a positive way.

• Volunteerism is another delightful way to feel connected to others; opportunities abound this time of year.

• Put together your own potluck feast, reaching out to others who may also be
alone for the holidays. Ask them to bring a dish and start a new tradition.

• Or, plan a dinner or celebration on a non-holiday day. While many spend
Thanksgiving and other holidays with family members, they may be free to join
you if the festivities are held on another day.

• Dial up some old roommates, childhood friends or family members you haven’t
spoken to in a while. Chances are it will lift their spirits too.

• Get out of the house. See an uplifting movie, go for a walk in the park or make
a trip to the beach. Take a camera along on your outdoor adventure so you can
focus” on new subjects and ideas.

• Consider booking a holiday cruise where the fun, talk and activities will be
plentiful.

• Pamper yourself with a hot candlelit bath, followed by a cup of hot cocoa and a
good book.

• Make it a point to develop new networks of friends through religious
organizations, senior centers, gyms and recreation centers.

• If you feel your depression is more serious than a mere case of the holiday
blues, talk to your doctor for help.

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