For many people, the holiday season is a time of merriness and cheer, while for others it is a time of profound sadness and loneliness.
It has been my experience that the holiday season is a major stressor for many people because:
1) It may intensify already existing feelings of sadness and isolation in those dealing with depression or bereavement.
2) There is so much focus on the commercialism of the holidays that focus is placed on material wealth, which in our current economy has drastically changed for thousands of people.
However, here are some ideas that may help combat holiday depression:
1. Get active
By simply engaging in any type of aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or running, for at least 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes can help improve mood. Ideally, you should do this activity at least five days a week to reap additional benefits such as improvement in some cognitive abilities and weight loss or maintenance.
The act of giving to others has been shown to help improve mood. This time of year there are several organizations that have opportunities for you to help those who are in need of food or comfort.
3. Watch your intake of refined sugars
Consuming large amounts of refined sugars, such as those found in cakes, pies, etc., can cause havoc on one’s blood sugar levels. Unstable glucose (blood sugar) can have a negative impact on mood, as well as cognition. Instead try to eat fruits or very limited amounts of refined sugar to get your sweet fix.