Published on October 16, 2015

Hope for the holidays: 5 ways to brighten your spirits

Another holiday season is here.

But you may be feeling less than jolly—and not especially in the mood to be merry.

holiday treeDepending on your circumstances, the times of year that are joyful to others may be the times that are most difficult for you. So what can you do to navigate them?

Here are five ways to keep your spirits up throughout the holiday season.

  1. Share your feelings. Call a friend, family member or pastor and be honest about how you’re doing. For example, you might let them know: “I’m feeling sad, because this is the first Thanksgiving without my partner.”
  2. Keep it low-key. Have you been invited to a party? Consider attending for a shorter time than usual. Let the host know that you may leave quietly and a little early.
  3. Try something different. Go out to eat instead of cooking that big holiday meal. Try new holiday recipes, activities or destinations. You’ll be making new memories at the same time.
  4. Make someone’s day. You might visit a relative who is sick, help wrap Christmas gifts for Toys for Tots or volunteer at a local organization, for instance.
  5. Take care of you. Treat yourself right, with plenty of sleep, exercise and nutritious food. And pamper yourself with a haircut, a massage or a pedicure.

Finally, if you find yourself feeling worthless or helpless—or with ongoing feelings of sadness—pay attention. These are signs of more serious depression. Reach out to a professional for help.