The weather has started to change and the holidays are fast approaching. For some people, this brings a sense of joy and expectation. The promise of time off work, friends, family, and parties is a delight. Many of these people look forward to the holiday season all year long.

The holidays are not a joyous time of year for everyone though. For many, the holidays just serve as a reminder of things they would rather forget. For others, the holidays just seem to magnify all the problems in their life.

Some enjoy the holidays, while others struggle to make it through them. This article is for those who have a hard time during the holiday season. Hopefully, the following tips will help you avoid depression this year and every year to come.

1. Look For Volunteer Opportunities

To avoid the holiday blues, one of the best things you can do is become a volunteer. Chances are this will do wonders for your mental state. When you start to volunteer it puts your focus on others rather than on your own problems. If you've never volunteered before, you may be surprised by how many opportunities there are. Here are a few places you can check for volunteer opportunities.

  • A nursing home
  • The United Way
  • The Red Cross
  • Boys & Girls Club of America
  • A local church
  • A food bank
  • A homeless shelter
  • A pet rescue

2. Unplug from Social Media

Most people who take a break from social media say they are glad they did. You probably will too. Leaving social media during the holidays will help you avoid many triggers of the holiday blues. One of the worst things about social media is that it leads people into the trap of comparison. Once we start to compare ourselves with what we see on social media it can be a downward spiral. It's a good idea to avoid this altogether during the holiday season.

3. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

For many people, drugs and alcohol can trigger negative thoughts and emotions, or they can be unhealthy coping mechanisms to distract them. If you struggle with the holiday blues, avoiding drugs and alcohol during the holidays might be a good idea. If this is difficult for you, consider finding an accountability partner.

4. Make Healthy Food Choices

There is a lot of truth to the old adage "you are what you eat." Making healthy food choices can have a positive effect on your attitude and mental state. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't enjoy yourself during the holidays. Go ahead, have a piece of the pie. Just balance it out with healthy choices later.

5. Buy an Audiobook

There's just something magical about music. It has the ability to move our emotions to extremes, both good and bad. If the holidays hold bad memories for you, consider avoiding holiday music altogether. This may be a great time to buy an audiobook. Instead of listening to Christmas music as you drive, you can listen to an audiobook. This might be a great time to start learning a second language or discovering a new subject.

6. Adopt a Pet

If you're one of the many people who struggle with loneliness during the holidays you could consider adopting a pet. You might be surprised how many pets need a home. In most communities, animal shelters are bursting at the seams. Do your research before adopting a pet. Make sure your new friend is going to be a good fit for you and your lifestyle.

7. Connect With Nature

Weather permitting, go for a walk outside or do some light yard work. Maybe do some bird watching or just sit on the porch. Getting back to nature will help you de-stress and feel better.

8. Just Relax

Fight back against the holiday blues by doing some self-care. Treat yourself to a massage or a spa day. Maybe you want to binge-watch some TV, read a book, or catch up on your sleep. Take some time to just relax.

9. Get Enough Sleep

Some people run into issues during the holidays because they are exhausted. Make sure you get enough sleep. Avoid stimulants such as coffee and tea before bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Getting the right amount of sleep is imperative to your overall health.

10. Avoid the Drama, Not the People

The trick is to avoid stress, drama, and pressure without isolating yourself. Spend time with friends and family, but do it on your own terms. You know the people who push your buttons. Avoid those people if you can. If you can't, try to be mentally prepared to let it go when they get on your nerves.

11. Get Online Therapy

Remember, it is normal to experience stress and anxiety during the holiday season. If your symptoms persist and prevent you from taking part in your daily activities, it might be time to talk to a licensed therapist. It is now easier than ever to connect with a therapist online. You don't have to wait an entire week to talk to your therapist. Online therapy is easily accessible to anyone. So make sure you take the time to take care of your mental health.

You Can Do It

By being intentional with your actions you can thrive during the holiday season. Just plan ahead and stay in control. Remember, taking some simple steps like focusing on others, avoiding pressure, and taking care of yourself can make a big difference in the way you feel this holiday season.