- Guard your mind from unrealistic seasonal influences. Refuse to be sold alive by the media. What you watch on TV or hear over the radio about how an “ideal” Christmas should look like can literally send you into a deep valley of discontent, resentment, unhappiness and self-pity. Remember that nearly all TV adverts seek to force you into a state of discontentment and frustration concerning your present circumstances. They tend to suggest that you can only have a “perfect” Christmas if you buy what they are selling. So be careful, your TV adverts, and other programs are not based on reality – it is a fake world.
- Seek the help of mental health professionals. If you know you likely get depressed at Christmas, this is especially for you. Plan ahead and schedule to see a qualified counsellor. This is very important because unless you are proactive towards your well-being you cannot stay in control. I have clients who book in advance to see me around Christmas time, because they understand that many things will be going on in and around them this time of year. They then foresee they will need some emotional reinforcements to cope with the extra mental demands and challenges that often accompany the month of December. If you are in this category, you can click here to download my free anxiety recovery program. Follow the program and you can be sure that you will have a good and peaceful time this Christmas.
- Set a budget for Christmas and stick with it. Based on your current financial state, determine how much you can afford to spend, and be disciplined not to exceed it. Avoid getting in debt at all cost. Then be sincere with yourself to identify the essentials from the non-essentials. This has worked perfectly for me and family over the years, except in rare circumstances where something unexpected happened.
- Practise kindness. Get involved in charitable courses. Do something kind for someone without expecting anything back in return. Studies show that an act of kindness releases serotonin (the “happy and well-being” neurotransmitter in the body) to the brain cells, making you feel a lot happier, stronger and hopeful about life. An act of kindness is like a dose of antidepressants with no side effects. So get involved in the community. Donate money to charities if you can. Volunteer your time, energy, and expertise. You will be surprised how these kind gestures can transform your mood.
- Engage in continuous thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should not be limited to only one day of the year (Thanksgiving day), but a powerful attitude that is constant and increasing. Gratitude is the most powerful antidote for depression. Depression often comes as a result of focusing on our hurts, disappointments and misfortunes. But when you choose to count your blessings and patiently search for something to be thankful for in this midst of your problems, anxiety attacks and depression cannot overcome you. This Christmas, focus not on what is lost, but on what is left.
- Connect with the true meaning of Christmas. Stay in harmony with the spirit of Christmas season – love, generosity, acceptance, restoration, redemption, goodwill and peace. Remember, Christmas is God’s gift to humanity and it can never be improved upon. So do not try to improve it with everything that you think you need to do to make it spectacular. This diverts your attention from the real thing and drags you into anxiety, worry and unhappiness. Instead, just be still in sincere appreciation for the gift of Christmas and enjoy the moments.
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