The holidays are a difficult time of year for those feeling depressed or lonely. It can be tempting to indulge in unhealthy behaviors to help you cope. You may be tempted to drink, smoke, take drugs or overeat.
These tips can help you navigate through tough times:
Keep your expectations realistic.
You may feel pressure to take on more tasks than you have energy for. Only commit to things you know you’ll be able to do. If people ask for more than you can handle, you can always say no.
Make time for exercise.
When you’re active, your brain releases chemicals that improve your mood and decrease stress. Not only does exercise keep your body healthy, but it also protects your mind. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, each week.
Talk with someone.
Talk about your problems with someone close to you, such as a friend or family member. They may recommend solutions you haven’t considered before. Be honest with your doctor, too. Tell him or her what you are going through. There are treatments for depression that can help.
Take care of yourself.
When you treat your body right, you’re able to deal with problems more easily. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Avoid sugar and caffeine, which can cause a dip in your energy level. And fill your diet with health-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.