Oh, “Gawd!” You’re an LGBTQ guy or gal simply dreading THAT time of year—the holidays!
Why might you be in a major funk? Well, maybe you feel you can’t be your authentic self around family: you’re still closeted. Or, you might be alone, feeling isolated. All of this can throw you into a nasty tailspin. And where do you crash land? Into one “helluva” depression!
Research bears out that the rates of depression and stress definitely increase during the holidays. To counteract that, here are ten tools to help you vanquish those holiday blues–courtesy of Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a multi-award winning psychotherapist:
- Keep your expectations balanced. “You won’t get everything you want, things will go wrong, and you won’t fell like Bing Crosby singing ‘White Christmas’. Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about things that are out of your control.”
- Don’t try to do too much. “Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can dampen your spirits. Learn to say no, delegate as much as possible and manage your time wisely. If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season–friends and family.”
- Don’t isolate. “If you’re feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate.”
- Don’t overspend. “Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it’s not about the presents. It’s about the presence.”
- It’s appropriate to mourn if you’re separated from or have lost loved ones. “If you can’t be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together.”
- Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. “Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder).”
- Watch your diet and remember to exercise. “It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down.”
- Be aware of the Post-Holiday Syndrome. “When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind, it can be a real letdown. Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season.”
- Learn forgiveness and acceptance. “If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won’t change. If you know what you’re getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons. If things get uncomfortable, go to a movie or for a drive and adjust your attitude.”