Hi, Dr. Lee– Around this time of year being merry and gay seems to be a social requirement. What advice do you have for those whose moods plummet during the holidays?
Not So Merry and Gay in FL
Dear Not So Merry and Gay:
I’ve found that I have to pay special attention to my mood during the holidays. If I focus on what is missing, I’m in trouble. During this time of year, I try to pay special attention to eating healthily and allow for indulgences. When it’s icy cold, I confine my exercise to something I can do inside. I have a Modern Qi Gong video that I use. The video has ten, twenty, and forty minute routines to do morning and evening, plus a number of helpful hints on de-stressing. Try to get close to eight hours of sleep at night.
When I have expectations of family and friends, I set myself up for disappointment. Taking time for myself to read or write is important for me. During this time of year, I plan on one day every two weeks to do nothing but eat, sleep, and read. I believe it helps me ward off whatever illness floats in the air during the darker days of the year. When I plan for it, I lose the guilt.
As I write, I am remembering childhood Christmases that left me feeling like I didn’t belong in the family. One in particular, my cousin who was eight months older, received a fur coat, muff, and hat from her other grandmother and I felt slighted. I was only four, but I carried that around until only a few years ago when I remembered it. Looking back as an adult changed my perception. It is the unremembered things that can affect our holidays now.
Indulge yourself. Know that you are loved even if you aren’t the do all, be all to your friends and family.
I hope this helps.