“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” or so the famous holiday song goes; however, for attorneys, it’s also the most stressful time of the year.
The stress of the season is compounded by changes in weather and daylight hours. Once late November hits and the days become shorter, it can feel like you spend all of your time in office darkness.
It’s easy to feel tired and overwhelmed when you combine this lack of sunshine with bleak weather (for some parts of the country) and the hectic pace of the holiday season.
So, ‘tis the season to share our 4 tips for staving off the winter blues this holiday season.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America advises that one of the best natural ways to manage stress is to engage in physical activity.
Not only does exercise help physically combat the intake of a myriad of tempting foods you’re constantly offered during the holidays, but in addition, there are a number of mental benefits associated with working out. For instance, exercise reduces your body’s stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
- Get sunshine.
Getting enough sun during the winter months can be difficult, especially for those of us who work and live up north. The lack of natural light in the winter months can seriously affect your natural circadian rhythm, causing you to feel tired, irritated or even depressed.
While the best way to remedy the lack of sunshine might be to spend a week or two soaking in the rays on the beach, this isn’t generally a feasible option from November to early January.
For those who can’t get away to a warmer climate during the holidays, a light therapy lamp may help. Light therapy lamps mimic outdoor light and can promote chemical changes in the brain that have been shown to improve your mood. Light therapy is most effective in the mornings, so consider setting up a lamp at the table while you sip your coffee or eat breakfast.
An alternative to the classic light therapy lamp is a sunrise alarm clock. Sunrise alarm clocks gently wake you up through gradual increases in light, mimicking the sunrise. Half an hour before your alarm is set to go off, the clock will slowly change from orange to a bright white allowing you to transition into non-REM sleep before fully waking up.
It’s important to remember that light therapy lamps and sunrise alarm clocks do not provide Vitamin D, however.
- Take some “Me Time.”
These days it seems like the Halloween candy is barely out before the department stores start putting up Christmas decorations. So take some time to catch your breath, even if that means saying “no” to people or invitations occasionally. Sometimes not doing anything can be the harder than doing something, but a little “me time” allows you to re-charge and truly enjoy the holiday festivities you do choose to attend.
- Cut back on social media usage.
Social media can range from fun and interesting to mildly irritating to toxic to your mental health.
Social media is beneficial in that it provides you with a window into the lives of your friends, family and random acquaintances. However, keep in mind that the pictures you see online are only small, curated moments in someone’s life. Messy homes, relationships and kid situations are left out of the equation, but that’s hard to remember when you’re stressed out and scrolling through your phone. As cliché as it is, take time to disconnect and truly be present during the holidays so that you can better enjoy the time spent with loved ones.
There’s no doubt the festive season is also a stressful season, but there are small ways you can go about abating a major meltdown before it happens. Take the time to stop and try these 4 de-stressing tips in order to be the most productive and present version of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself while taking time to be grateful this holiday season.