Most people feel a sense of anticipation and joy as we approach the holidays. However, a considerable amount of people, including those in therapy, can feel depressed, frustrated, and anxious. What can these people do to make the holidays more enjoyable?
Try to schedule a theater or dance performance either the night before or the day of the holiday. In major cities, many shows are on or near Thanksgiving and Christmas. If there is no live theater go to a movie and invite someone so you don’t have to spend the day alone.
Go on a trip out of town. There are many cruises or day trips during this season. If you want to stay in a location where a Thanksgiving dinner was had before, do this. It can link an image of the holidays with a past experience and could boost the spirits quickly.
Join a community group like the YMCA, or take a photography or art class. You can take a class taking pictures of trees and turning those into holiday cards or presents.
Organize a hike into the countryside or a park tour with a group. In New York City and Los Angeles, there are tours every day of the week.
Go to a yoga retreat or a spa resort. Many hotels and spas have special weekend activities and rates at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.
Plan an intensive exercise routine. Exercise increases certain chemicals in the nervous system that fight depression and anxiety.
Help others who are less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen. One of the best ways to forget your own loneliness is to help others at shelters or hospitals. Getting “outside of ourselves” and helping others in need helps take the focus off our own situations and feelings, and often delivers an emotional boost.
Try an AA meeting if you find yourself drinking too much. AA meetings on the holidays are immediate communities that help people deal with alcohol or drug abuse, which may be covering up negative feelings during the holidays.