Do you get stressed-out around the holidays? The shopping and crowds, the back-to-back diet-busting parties. The exhausting chats with the in-laws and extended families. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. There is an actual diagnosis called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter. So we have gathered up some simple ways to help raise your spirits and enjoy this, the merriest time of the year.

  1. Hike your mood with sunlight: spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days. It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin.
  2. Take a whiff of citrus: For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket. Certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine
  1. Stick with your daily routine: Prioritize your workouts, book club, etc., and don’t try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle.
  1. Don’t neglect whatever cracks you up: Laughing like crazy reduces stress hormones. That in turn, helps immune cells function better.
  2. Forget perfection: Stop obsessing over doing it all! The world will not end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life!
  3. Think Positive: The holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but don’t focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger your body’s stress response, just as a real threat does. Remember this is a time of celebration! An optimistic outlook will help you cope with the challenges that come your way.

Most importantly, remember this is a time of good cheer and togetherness. Find your favorite loved one (or the closest one) and squeeze them tight. Hugs are the best stress reliever there is. Enjoy your holiday season and Happy New Year from everyone at Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Inc.