Holiday blues are never easy to deal with. When your well-meaning loved ones tell you to "cheer up" and "get into the spirit of the season," you tend to feel worse. It's not like you're intentionally raining on everyone else's parade, right?
That said, you don't have to let the holiday blues hold you back. If you feel the blues settling in, or they've already settled in, here's how to keep them in check.
Know that you don't have to be perfect.
It's tempting to want to do it all: being the perfect Christmas host, the perfect parent, the perfect godfather, the perfect child, etc. But the thing is, you don't have to.
You don't have to stretch yourself too thin. You don't have to be all things to everyone. Even people who seem to have it together have their limits too. If those people can be allowed to take a break once in a while, why can't you?
Carve out some "alone" time.
Happiness is infectious — but so is stress, unfortunately. When you're surrounded by people panicking about things like "Oh no, I don't have gifts for my godchildren yet!" or "Oh no, I haven't booked my ticket to the province yet," all those emotions can rub off on you.
So get away from it all. Help your panicked loved ones when you can, but don't forget to set boundaries. Give yourself a 15- to 20-minute break at least once every 50 to 90 minutes. Use your break to clear your mind and recharge your body. Stick to your "break times" as firmly as you can, so people will know better than to interrupt you.
You might feel guilty about putting yourself first in this season of giving. But think of it this way: If you can't be generous to yourself, how can you be generous to others?
Be kind and considerate to people, but don't neglect your own needs. Eat until you're 80 percent full (hara hachi bu). Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes each day. Treat yourself to a marathon of the movies you've always wanted to watch (or wouldn't mind watching again and again). Give yourself some much-needed TLC. You deserve it, after all!
Want to feel happier and healthier? Take time out to make a difference in the lives of others. According to research, volunteers are more likely to rate themselves as "very happy." That's because volunteering connects you to others, helps you advance your career, and makes you feel fulfilled overall.
If you can't decide where to volunteer, think about your interests. Do you care about animal welfare, the environment, or social justice? Which organizations specialize in these? Look them up, and see if they have any outlets/branches near you.
In Makati, for example, you have the Virlanie Foundation and UNICEF Philippines. Check out their websites, decide if their values align with yours, and sign up!
Take a step back to gain some perspective.
Be alone in a quiet place, and take time to reflect. How did the past year go for you? Was it mostly good, mostly bad, or a little bit of both? What did you learn from both the good and the bad? How can you make the good things even better, and ensure that the bad things don't make a repeat performance next year? You might be surprised at the answers to these questions.
Reach out to people who can understand what you're going through.
Chances are, you're not the only one having the holiday blues. Even if there doesn't seem to be anyone around you who can commiserate, it helps to talk about your feelings to someone.
Of course, you have to be careful about who you share your holiday blues with. If someone tells you to "get over it" and "stop spoiling the fun for everyone," you'll know not to associate with that person. But if someone says "Okay, let's hear you out," don't be afraid to open up to them. They might be able to give you some perspective on your situation, even if you choose not to heed their words in the end.
Gone through the steps above, and still not feeling better? If so, there's a possibility you may have some mental health issues. Luckily, Makati is home to professionals who are specially trained to help you deal with those issues, so don't hesitate to consult with them if you think you need their services.
Holidays don't have to get you down. With a little bit of resourcefulness, a little bit of perspective, and a little bit of self-care, you can get into the spirit of Christmas despite the holiday blues.