Holiday depression occurs when Christmas isn’t so merry and the holidays aren’t so happy. What should you do when this happens to you? How should you cope with this depressing experience? How can you fight holiday depression and get back to work?

Get out of that bed. Take a bath. And stop slouching!

These 10 stress-kicking and anxiety-busting tips will kick holiday depression away from you faster than you can say “Ho, ho, ho!”

1. Manage your expectations

What you’re doing: We’ve never quite gotten rid of the notion that the Christmas season is full of magic and endless possibility. As such, you think that just because it’s Christmas, your landlord wouldn’t charge you rent, your boss wouldn’t yell at you and your long-time crush would finally notice you. Hey, maybe people you’re not close with would automatically give you presents, too!

What you should do instead: Newsflash‒Christmas won’t magically transform your life! You’re still going to experience the same routine‒unless you do something about it. The holiday season may allow you to take breaks more and to eat more, but it will also let you spend more and expect more. Think realistically.

2. Give back to the community

What you’re doing: You are buying extravagant gifts and comparing the prices of Christmas presents that you receive and the Christmas presents that you give. No wonder you’re depressed‒you’re not content with what you have!

What you should do instead: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, feel better by asking your loved ones to come with you and spend a whole day with people who need more than you do. Go to your local orphanage. Help out at the soup kitchen. Hand out gifts to hospital patients. Give with a big heart and you’ll soon feel richer and happier.

3. Turn off the television (and don’t look at friends’ Facebook updates)

What you’re doing: You’re watching reality TV shows and celebrity news. Celebrity A spent Christmas traveling all over the world and Celebrity B spent New Year’s buying a brand new castle-like mansion. To make things worse, Friend A is going to a cruise to Europe while you’re stuck at work!

What you should do instead: Stop comparing your life with the lives of celebrities and billionaires. Contentment is the thief of joy, remember? Turn these holiday depression triggers off and no, unless you want to feel bad about yourself, do not look at them.

4. Spend time simply with significant people in your life.

What you’re doing: You go to amazing parties with expensive food and unlimited alcohol. Everything’s great except for one thing: you’re not spending this with the people who truly matter to you.

What you should do instead: Forget the booze and the hors d’oeuvre. Why don’t you make a minimalist pasta dish, bring a pitcher of iced tea, bake a whole batch of cookies and ask your loved ones for a lovely picnic one afternoon? All the food and the luxury in the world are meaningless without the people you love, anyway.

5. Play the “Gratitude Game” with yourself.

What you’re doing: You take note of every nuisance that happens in your everyday life. That one-hour traffic which made you late, that jerk who stole your parking space and that waiter who served your food cold‒why are you paying attention to these things?

What you should do instead: Every night, before you go to bed, write something that you’re absolutely thankful for. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant like buying a yacht for yourself. Something short and sweet like your mother calling you to check up on you would do.

6. Listen to an inspirational talk about personal growth.

What you’re doing: You complain. Most of the time. Why? It’s because all you hear about on the radio is a mockery, a criticism or a snide comment about something.

What you should do instead: Download inspirational podcasts and listen to them while you’re on the way to work.

7. Have a “Cost-Effective Challenge” and figure out innovative ways to treat yourself.

What you’re doing: You spend $200 for a single dinner because you’re feeling the effects of holiday depression. You book a session at one of the most luxurious spa places because you want to boast to your friends that you can afford to go there. You do excessive retail therapy and buy everything you’ve gotten your hands on.

What you should do instead: Have a simple chocolate fondue. Make your own spa session at home. Go to a local dollar store and buy five items that you really want. Having fun doesn’t mean breaking the bank!

8. Do MORE.

What you’re doing: You’re overbooking yourself to the point that you spend the night drinking away all your troubles and you spend the morning eating away all your worries? Stop.

What you should do instead: Before you mock this tip, hear me out. Doing MORE doesn’t mean that you have to be busier‒MORE actually stands for Move, Oxygenate, Rest & Eat.

9. See the joy in every moment and laugh a lot!

What you’re doing: You frown. You cry. You furrow your eyebrows. Mind the wrinkles, my friend!

What you should do: Watch funny YouTube videos. Improvisational comedy shows like Whose Line Is it Anyway? and Improv-A-Ganza are great choices.

10. Spend 15 minutes on it.

What you’re doing: You procrastinate up until the last minute. So, when the deadline’s nearer, you struggle to finish everything. As a result, you’re left with a pair of eyebags, a runny nose and a sloppy result.

What you should do instead: We know that it’s hard to get any work done, especially during the holidays. However, don’t let this stop you. Your bills will always come, so you should always put an effort to do something worthwhile. If you can’t finish a whole report in one day, start earlier and work on it for at least 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes would do.

Minute by minute, this 15-minute working time would surely make a difference.

Who hasn’t felt a lonely or sad at times? 64 WARNING Signs of Depression You Need to Be Aware of

Featured photo credit: young man relax siting on piervia Shutterstock

Love this article?