By Emily Brzak, MA, TLLP.
1. Think of the new year as a blank slate. This is an excellent time to begin a new hobby or establish a new goal to steadily work towards. Mine? Train my 12-week old puppy Lola to chew on objects that are not expensive or human body parts.
2. Declutter. Light a nice smelling candle, turn on some feel-good tunes, and de-clutter your personal space, whether that be an office, home, room, and/or car.
3. Get outside. Although cuddling under a heated blanket and indulging in Grubhub is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not something I would recommend doing every night for three months straight. Invest and bundle up in some high quality winter gear and get outside in the natural light for a walk with a friend. Rent some cross country skis or snow shoes. Exercise is a leading intervention for depression and doesn’t need to stop just because it’s cold.
4. Make an effort to identify one positive thing about each day. Listen, I used to hate winter. All winter represented to me was coldness, darkness, and chapped lips. I’ve found it helps my holiday and post-holiday blues to recognize all that the holidays, winter, and the new year offer, while practicing my mindfulness skills. Stop and pay attention to the peacefulness of the snow falling, the warmth of the fireplace, the coziness of hearing the wind blow outside your window. Pay attention to the warm sensation of your latte against your hands, and embrace the comfort of a knit sweater. It’s about paying attention, on purpose, to the smaller things that often go unnoticed.
5. Access self-compassion. Remind yourself that holiday and post-holiday blues are normal. The holidays often bring up memories and a desire to be with our loved ones who may no longer be with us. It can be a difficult transition from having time off to relax and binge-watch holiday movies, to focusing on homework, finances, and
other unwanted obligations after the holiday season is over. Take a deep breath, identify how you are feeling while reminding yourself that it is okay, make yourself a soothing beverage, and give yourself time.
If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of sadness, depression, and/or grief and would like to make an appointment to speak with one of our professional clinicians at McCaskill Family Services, please contact our office by phone at 734- 416-9098 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.