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Nov 30, 2012

It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” but what if you always get the blues?  Depression is a common experience in winter and especially around the holiday season.  Early darkness, family drama and financial stress can contribute to low mood over the holidays.  Here are some tips to feel better:

 1. Exercise: Find time to get off the couch and continue your regular routine of being active.  It helps our bodies to deal with stress by altering chemicals produced in the brain, sweeping excess cortisol (a stress hormone) from the body and has been shown to improve mood, along with helping to prevent weight gain.  Even a brisk walk helps  - get family involved to make it part of your holiday tradition.

 2. Get some sun: Winter’s lack of light makes lots of people feel low.  Try to take any opportunity to catch real rays.  Outdoor, natural daylight is best, especially in the morning.  If necessary, use a light box.


 3. You are how you eat: Author Michael Pollan said it best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  Make sure you avoid ditching your healthy habits for rich holiday goodies.  Try to find balance between enjoying special treats and ensuring optimal nutrition.  Some good rules – don’t skip meals, get your veggies, and watch portions!  Beyond that, try not to arrive at parties with an empty stomach so you have a tendency to overeat.

 4. Gratitude: Recognize that a big part of holiday blues is disappointment from high expectations, so relax, slow down, and acknowledge all your gifts and blessings to temper any disappointment.  Despite any family troubles, find something to be grateful for.  To amplify gratitude, help others less fortunate this holiday season.

 5. Plan your time for self: Even with family visits and social obligations, it is so important that you nurture yourself.  This might mean maintaining your regular time at the gym, the yoga studio, on the trails, by the ocean, or in the tub. Book time off in your schedule if necessary and you’ll enjoy company that much more.


Dr. Clare Craig, ND, CD(DONA)
Naturopathic Doctor, Doula
Island Optimal Health & Performance

Island Optimal Health & Performance
#103-1808 Bowen Road
Nanaimo, BC   V9S 5W4




Please add a comment

Posted by Friend to all on
All good advice but what if one has no family around and no one available to be with, no one inviting or including for xmas or New Year celebrations, facing it totally alone....
Posted by admin on
I was away from my family and friends one christmas and New Year while traveling in India one year. I found many other people to create a meaningful sharing of warmth, food and company. I am grateful for all the love that surrounds me. May we all create fulfilling lives for ourselves. May we act in ways that bring us deep, abiding joy.
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