Christmas Day is around the corner and the season has already begun. I love how excited my kids are. Their excitement reminds me of what Christmas was like when I was little.
As I get older I understand more and more those people who say things like, “Christmas is for kids”. It could seem that way because kids are the ones that get the most joy out of it. It’s harder for us grownups to enjoy the holiday season. Infact it’s especially hard for us Mamas to enjoy this season. The pressure is on to create a memorable holiday experience for everyone.
This year I’ve completely weaned off of medication for anxiety and depression. (I was on a prescription drug called Sertraline.) It was a tough decision to do this after being on medication for two years. But I felt that my body was suddenly not responding to it as it should and I kept having to increase the dosage. I also experienced sudden weight gain with constant cravings of high fat foods. My husband and I were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t working as it should. Our last two pregnancies happened so easily in comparison to that season while on medication. So I made the tough decision to wean myself off.
Now that I’m completely off of Sertraline, it’s of the utmost importance I keep myself in check. I need to be practical of what can trigger a panic attack or spiral into depression. I’ve been honest with my husband about these instances that I’m just not capable of handling. Here are a few methods I’ve compiled of deflecting Holiday Anxiety and Blues.
1. Staying Away From Unhealthy Relatives
There are certain family members we need to stay away from this season. And that’s that. It is what it is. In a perfect world we would get along with everyone and the Holidays would be enjoyable for everybody.
I truly think it’s odd feeling obligated to gather with every single family member at Christmas even when it has a high chance of ruining Christmas. Many parents would argue they do it for the kids, but kids sense tension and when their Mama is not mentally healthy it can be costly to their home and feeling of safety. Is it truly worth it? It’s a simple reality that our family needs to accept and I’m blessed to have a very understanding husband.
2. Let Go Of Impractical Holiday Must Haves
I’ve had to come to terms with not having every aspect of Christmas as I’m used to having it. It’s tradition to clean the entire house spotlessly and purge our home of old toys. This type of cleaning is a nightmare to do with the age my kids are at (6 and 3). On an average Saturday, we clean in the morning and it’s messy again by the evening.
Also it’s become World War 3 just to have my kids get rid of old broken toys. I should feel inspired that they will always find a creative method of playing with a toy no matter how broken it is- but the clutter can drive me insane… I’ve found peace with keeping their bedroom door closed on a regular. (Out of sight, out of mind).
3. Regular Exercise
During the holiday season I can get super tense because I have an idea of how Christmas ought to go- and it never goes that way.
What helps is regular exercise. Strange I know. I mean, it’s the Holidays! Why am I losing weight when I should be gaining it???
But I go for a run and this helps me channel all of my nervous energy. I have a long route I like to take when running. And whether I run the whole way or stop and walk a bit- by the end of that run, I feel so accomplished.
Being away from what’s causing me anxiety really helps. All my mind is focused on during that run is how fast I’m going and the beautiful weather outside. I get home and nothing’s changed concerning my circumstances. But my mind feels calmer and stronger. Like I gained a new muscle during that run and it’ll help me conquer anything.
Oh! And the coolest part about this run is that I tend to run past my neighbors. Every time I do, I get a thumbs up or “Way to go!” It’s the best feeling running past someone that cheers me on.
Another method I use to stay calm and positive is supplements. I take a Salmon Fish Oil Supplement every day, three times a day. My mom has always told me since I was a teenager that incorporating this supplement changed her own mental health. I didn’t take her seriously until I did my own research.
According to Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-fish-oil-for-brain-health), research has shown a positive effect on mood because of the omega-3 fatty acids effect on the brain. And from my own personal experience I’ve noticed a change!
Since starting this supplement my mind doesn’t race as much as it used to. You know that “down the rabbit hole” type of thinking. One bad thought just leads to another and another. Since starting this supplement my thinking is more clear and focused. Literally on days where I forget to take that supplement I notice my mood change and my thinking become very negative and unfocused.
Salmon Fish Oil Supplements also assist in my workouts being more productive so I can keep going. According to Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fish-oil-bodybuilding#bodybuilding-benefits), these supplements have anti-inflammatory properties, decreasing soreness when working out and boosting muscle strength. I’ve personally noticed I’m able to run for a longer period of time than I’m used to without it and my body isn’t sore after my work outs as it is without the supplement. It’s insane!
5. Going To Bed On Time
Going to bed on time is also very important during the Holiday season. I know it’s hard because night time is the most ideal time to get gift wrapping done and stockings stuffed. Cooking in the middle of the night is the best! No kids around to nag you every five minutes about what you’re making or trying to sneak bits of food.
But everyone in my house can tell if I didn’t sleep well. The neighbors probably can too. I’m literally a ticking time bomb when I’m lacking sleep. I’ve noticed I need a minimum of eight hours in order to have a calm state of mind. Melatonin is a big help when I’m trying to go to sleep but my mind won’t stop racing. I have melatonin pills in a chocolate flavor and it’s so yummy!
The Holidays can be enjoyable for us Mamas that suffer from anxiety and depression. We have to make some tough choices to get there but it’s definitely worth it!
Do you have some ideas that wasn’t on this list? Let us know!