Combat Seasonal Blues

This time of year can mean many things to many different people. Despite the holiday fervor, it can signify less than cheery times for those that struggle with the blues. Know the signs and how to combat them.

The leaves turn, the weather gets cold, relationships come and go — as do jobs and paychecks. Learn how to move past these stressors before they consume you.

Stop fretting about what you don’t have
Sure, it stinks that you’re strapped for cash since you were laid off months ago and have yet to find a new job or you’re suffering through another holiday season alone. And if all of that isn’t bad enough, it feels like the rain and snow might never stop falling. Any one of these things can give you a case of the blues, but it’s time to redirect your attention elsewhere.

Start by counting your blessings. You may have lost your job, but you do have a roof over your head. Stop stressing about the fancy presents you can’t afford and instead get crafty. Nothing says “I love you” more than homemade or home-baked anything. You might even make a few new friends in the process.

While your soul mate may have yet to enter the picture, start planning and doing all of the things that you want to do once they do arrive, choosing to do it with some of your best friends. While you may not have exactly what or who you want in your life right now, start celebrating what you’ve got — a flock of amazing people to share life experiences. They are the ones who will always love you unconditionally.

Families and relationships of choice
We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that this time of year brings light to things that we might prefer to keep comfortably nestled within the “denial” zone. Maybe your family stays true to their tradition of summarizing all of the ways you have disappointed them this past year (Festivus, anyone?) or maybe your significant other still doesn’t seem to care enough to know that you like your potatoes whipped, not fried (and that’s just the “small potatoes of your problems together).

Any or all of these types of things can suck, but here is the beacon of hope: One of the only things that will never change, year after year, is your ability to choose. If your family is getting your goat, you have a choice — subject yourself to the madness or make alternate plans this time.

Your partner, after all these months or years still doesn’t seem to measure up to your expectations. You can choose to stay or go; despite how it may feel at times, you are not locked into any relationship. Figure out what the problems are and decide to stay put or do something about it. Making a move in a new direction can be frightening, sure, but so is subjecting yourself to situations and relationships that just bring you down.

Stay true, don’t get blue
While it’s common to start prepping for the New Year by figuring out what grand resolutions we will set and meet next year, sometimes it can inadvertently sink us into a depression about the ones that never came to be this past year. Stay true to your original mission and get busy — the year isn’t over yet! Take these last couple of weeks to get to work on making your resolution a reality. Sound impossible? Refine it if necessary, but make it happen. You’ll be so busy that you won’t have time to get bogged down by the blues.

Look good, feel better
Now that you’re armed with a whole sack of feel-good intentions, the tough patches are behind you. To celebrate, you need to dress yourself up in a package that makes you feel as spectacular as you are. If you look good (that can be a fancy frock or something smashing but simple), you will feel good. Better yet, others will notice — maybe even that fine specimen you’ve been eying at the supermarket!

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