The holidays can be a great time of year. The holiday parties, family and friends, food and drinks, presents, vacations, and more can put us in a merry mood! Unfortunately for some, it brings a deeper sadness and can be a trigger for .

Colder, longer nights come along with the winter season. The holidays might trigger thoughts of those that have passed on, along with divorce and break-ups, the financial stress of gift buying, not having anyone to share the joys with for those with no family, social anxiety with holiday parties, loneliness….

The winter blues are also common due to the lack of sunlight with the time change and more time spent inside due to the colder temperatures.

Prepare to set yourself up for success and those that you know who could use a lift me up around these trying times with my top 8 ways to deal with holiday depression.

1. Live a healthy lifestyle– Your health is the most important thing. Make time for exercise and eat clean whole foods that will reward your body and keep you feeling well. Avoid tobacco products, foods high in sugar, soft drinks, fatty foods, processed goods, and excess alcohol.

Get fresh air, drink plenty of water, play a sport, start a gratitude journal, perhaps even hire a life/health coach to help you obtain your goals.

Take Care of You

2. Take Care of You– Self-care is very important. Make time to do the things that put a smile on your face and bring happiness into your life. It could be something as simple as a massage or pedicure, to a walk on the beach/hike in the woods, to a yoga retreat or vacation away.

Meditation is a great way to start the day, even if for just 5 minutes. It helps to have a clear, calm mind and meditation, with some practice, can really help. Wherever you are in life is where you are supposed to be.

Learn from it and work hard to take the necessary steps to be where you want to be. You have no idea what others had to go through to get where they are, so don’t compare. Everyone goes through challenges and has their struggles.

3. Get Enough Sleep– It is so important to give your body rest and not wear yourself down, in fact, your whole quality of life depends on it! A lack of sleep can alter the way we feel, play with our emotions, cut our attention span, and wreak havoc on our mental and physical state.

Sleep plays an important part in keeping our heart healthy, balancing our hormones, and keeping our immune system strong. Although needs vary per person, the daily recommended sleep for an adult 18+ is approx. 7-8 hrs. per day.

Balance is key

4. Balance is Key– A healthy lifestyle is important, however once in a while give yourself a treat* day. Pick a day or two over the holidays to give yourself the things you love that might not be the best for you but that you truly enjoy.. i.e., a bowl of ice cream, a fudge brownie, hot chocolate… moderation is key! Don’t let your portions get out of control.

5. Random Acts of kindness– Give, give, give! Did I say give? Yes the more we give, the happier we will be. No, you don’t need to break the bank for this… Give a smile, a hand shake, a hug, a cup of coffee, hold open a door, ask someone how they are, run an errand, babysit for free, give lots of compliments, buy someone a present with no expectations of receiving anything back.

Selfless acts will not only cheer others up, but they are sure to make you feel just as cheerful!

6. Volunteering– Donate time and or your skills to the local organization. There are so many skills you can obtain when you volunteer. Team building, social skills, leadership, time management, and problem-solving skills are just a few.

Giving back to the community will reward you with new experiences and allow you to connect with new people all while building your self-esteem.

Spend Less Time On Social Media

7. Spend less time on social media– We tend to overload with social media from chat rooms to Facebook, and Instagram just to name a few. The problem with this is that there are very negative minded people who will post nothing but drama, political rants, and religious beliefs whose ideas we might not agree with.

This will leave us stressed and for some in heated debates. Also on the flip side, there are positive posts of families showing all their great memories, and everything butterflies and rainbows because they choose to focus on the good but for those not so happy this might give them unrealistic views.

It is important to unplug and spend more time having direct contact socializing with the real world.

8. Don’t be a Hermit– Don’t stay in all by yourself throughout the holidays. Join meetup groups, hang with positive friends, invite family over, get out and get active. In today’s world with our technology, it’s so easy to find events going on in your area. Some examples of apps to help you are Meetup, Nextdoor, and Facebook events.

Round out the year on a great note and add a few more fa la la la la’s to your life! Limit internet usage, appreciate where you are at, make time for the things that make you happy, stock up on fruits and veggies, get to bed early, sip on a cup of hot chocolate, give a hug, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, and bundle up for a brisk walk!

Too often we hear stories of sadness when people rely on recreational drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. This can have a huge impact on our health.

If you or anyone you know is suffering with severe depression and/or addiction and in need of help don’t be afraid to reach out and speak up. Seek advice from doctors, therapists, family, friends, religious leaders, support groups, or help lines.

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Christal Borg moved to Florida from New Jersey in 2016. She is a NASM certified Personal Trainer, a NASM certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, and a Health and Prosperity Coach. She is a single mother of three beautiful children. She is a co-author of the cookbook, “Pig Out Clean” and has a passion for helping people look and feel their best through nutrition and exercise. She runs a meetup group to get people out and active planning things like stand up paddle boarding and kickball. She is an inspiration to many and will inspire you to live your life to your fullest potential. You can follow her on Facebook and or on Instagram at Dream_catcher2015