Okay so we all know the popular Christmas Carol, the 12 days of Christmas with the hens and the rings and the partridge in a pear tree. But what if we tweaked those lyrics a little bit to sing about the thing we really want good mental health. The thing is" this is a gift you have to give yourself. Nobody can give it to you. Come and join me with a new rendition of a familiar song.
On the first day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: A stress free holidayeee (A poet I am not so forgive my attempt to rhyme). How you ask? Let us help with a couple of articles on how to take the stress and anxiety out of your holiday plans.
On the second day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Two (potentially) Mood Enhancing Supplements
(Please note that you should always ask your doctor about any supplements or herbal remedies you wish to take to avoid adverse interactions with your other medications)
- Vitamin D: You have probably been hearing a lot about this vitamin in the media lately. This is because researchers are finding an association between a lack of Vitamin D and a myriad of medical and mental problems. In some studies a lack of vitamin D is thought to be a contributor to both depression and anxiety. When you get your physical from you primary physician make sure to get your Vitamin D levels checked.
- Deplin: Our Dr. Chris Ballas wrote several years ago about the potential for Deplin to enhance the effectiveness of your antidepressant. Deplin is prescribed by your doctor and is considered an amped up version of folate.
On the third day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Three "No" Declarations
During the holiday season you are undoubtedly going to be asked to do activities or extra things that you really don’t want to do or have no time to do. My friend was just telling me the other day how she was invited to some holiday "party" where a friend is selling jewelry and she didn’t want to go. I reminded her that the magic word is "No." Come on and practice it with me. "No, no, no." You can do it. I know you can!
On the fourth day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Four fun -for-me activities
I know that the holidays are all about giving to others. But this is your holiday too. What activities do you enjoy doing? They don’t have to be huge time consuming activities but it is imperative that you take some time for yourself to do something special for you. Watch a Lifetime movie, read some of those old magazines you have lying around the house, or dance to disco. Whatever floats your boat. Fun is one of the anecdotes to depression. Have some. It is free.
On the fifth day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Five Reasons to be Grateful
It is true that people who feel gratitude feel less depressed. In a previous post I talked about the results of a study called the George Bailey effect. I am sure you all remember the Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, with the character of George Bailey who contemplates whether his life has any meaning. When he sees what life would be like without his existence he feels gratitude for the life he has despite all the heartaches. The researchers found that: "…if you imagine the absence of those good things you normally take for granted, your brain will be surprised, and you may come to realize how good things really are."
On the sixth day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Six Happy Holiday Memories
I know that for some of you this will be a stretch. It sometimes is for me too. The holidays can be a time for grief anniversaries and to mourn previous losses. There is a time for grief and sadness and if you need to feel these things don’t hold back. But for some, the bad Christmas memories take over until you can no longer remember any good times. Don’t let this happen to you. Each year I battle some PTSD over events from my childhood which took place during the Christmas season. So I have to make a special effort to fill my mind with peaceful joyful memories such as the time when I saw the first snowfall of the season when I was a papergirl. If it helps, look at photos or talk to family to reminisce about some of the happier holiday times. The other thing to keep in mind is that it is always possible to make NEW memories, ones you will cherish.
On the seventh day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Seven soothing scents
The other day I went into a store which was all decorated for the holidays and they were selling these little candle scents (scent chips) that you would melt in a special holder. You would put these scent chips on top of the holder and light a candle underneath. The chips would melt and give off an aroma. I spent considerable time smelling all these delightful scents with names like "Christmas memories" and a "Berry Christmas." I was in heaven. It is amazing what a scent can do for your mood. In a past post I discussed some coping strategies to deal with depression. Aromatherapy was one of my suggestions. A dear friend gave me an aromatherapy machine one holiday and it works wonders for me. Some of the scents that you may find calming are lavender, jasmine, and rose. It is a fun experiment to see which scents lift your mood.
On the eighth day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Eight hours of sleep
It is difficult to get sleep during regular non-holiday times. But it can be even more difficult during the holidays with the rushing about and wrapping, baking, or attending events into the wee hours. But I am telling from experience. It catches up with you and there will be a crash in energy and mood if you don’t get your proper sleep. Here are some articles to help you get the sleep you need to prevent a depressive episode.
On the ninth day of Christmas I gave a gift to me: Nine Mental Health Support Sites
I have said it before. But it needs repeating. If you suffer from a mental disorder you will need some support. Here are links to nine support groups or organizations to gain support and information about your mental health.
On the tenth day of Christmas a gift I gave to me: Ten Minutes of Peace and Relaxation
It can seem like you can’t even spare five minutes let alone ten minutes a day during the holidays to devote to relaxation. But it may be imperative for your mental health. Health Central has some ways to help you unwind and revitalize your physical and mental energy.
On the eleventh day of Christmas a gift I gave to me: Eleven Acts of Kindness
Some times when you are feeling down you may sit around waiting for the world to be kind to you. I propose a different idea. You can initiate an act of kindness and be an agent of change. Every single day there are multiple opportunities to reach out and connect with people who need a kind word or support. The holidays may pose even more possibilities than usual to give the gift of kindness. Get the warm fuzzies and do something nice for someone else. You can share your stories of random acts of kindness here in response to my question of the week discussion.
On the twelfth day of Christmas a gift we give to thee: Twelve Holiday Articles for a happy, healthy, stress free holiday-ee!
Here at Health Central we offer a variety of posts on how to get through this holiday season with your mental health intact. Let us help you to not only survive this holiday but feel some happiness as well. You deserve it. Thank you for being a valued member and for allowing us the honor to serve you. Happy Holidays everyone!
I am a mother, a writer, and now an MS patient