Sun and nature
- take a walk outside during your lunch break and maybe grab a friend you think needs to join you
- find a nice bench to enjoy a tea or coffee outside during breaks
- drag your laptop to a picnic table and take in some fresh air while you work outside
- stay active so you get the mental health benefits of exercise
- use the weekends to take advantage of daylight hours and take up new outdoor activities, like mountain biking, hiking, or cross country skiing
- make an appointment to see a doctor or therapist, especially if this dip in mood happens to you yearly.
- Many recovering addicts get invited to party after party where there will be alcohol and maybe even drugs. If you have a friend you know is in recovery, offer an alternative to all of the parties, like going to a newly released movie, having a game night, going for a massage, or hitting a coffee shop. If recovering addicts do show up at a party, be their ally. People put tremendous pressure on others at parties to just have "one drink" and having you there can make all of the difference. When people offer a drink, tell them you were just headed to get each of you something.
- People struggling financially often feel awkward showing up to places where endless gifts are being passed around. Maybe consider going as a group to do some charitable work instead of focusing on gift giving. Invite them over for dinner instead of asking them to go out to spend money they don't have.
- Family tension can be a cause for drama this time of year. Perhaps you can invite the person feeling left out to visit at a time that will be less stressful. Talk with your guests about other topics rather than the family issues. If you have been harboring ill feelings toward someone for quite some time about an issue that is not trauma related, forgiveness is worth considering. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself and the other person doesn't necessarily have to know. Letting go of those feelings does not mean you forget or condone but you let go for your own health benefits, such as decreases in stress, blood pressure, anger, depression, and hurt with increases in optimism, hope, compassion, and physical vitality (Keltner & Simon-Thomas).
- If you know someone who has lost a loved one over the past year or so, the holidays are a reminder of times well spent with that person but can also be a reminder of the loss. Make a special effort to check on people who are grieving and don't feel like you have to shy away from mentioning the person who died. Yes, a grieving person might cry but that's normal. Imagine losing someone special and having no one even mention the person over the holidays.
- Those of us who live overseas know all too well how this time of year can be if you live alone or without extended family nearby. Expats often become quite good at making their own families in every country where they live. Give a bit of time to think of people you know who are on their own for the holidays. Extend invitations and make phone calls or send texts to show you care. Don't forget to invite foreigners to experience holidays of their host culture. There are military men and women who will not make it home so send cards and offer support to their family at home.
- Be mindful of those who are not extroverted. They might not want to come to a big party but might really appreciate an invite to a quaint restaurant or a home cooked meal at your place. Maybe an invite to a little Netflix marathon would work.
- People who struggle with their mental and physical health can find this time of year particularly challenging. Touch base. Ask the person what's going well and share what you are both grateful for. Ask the person to join you for a walk outside. Offer to pick the person up to go to a small social gathering to have some laughs. If you see the person really struggling, ask if you can call to make a doctor's appointment for a health checkup. I often ask if they want me to drive and go in to share with the doctor what I'm seeing. This can really take the pressure off. If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out to people you know will be compassionate and supportive. There is nothing wrong with getting in touch with someone and saying, "Hey, I've hit a serious low point and I really need support. Can you come over?" Keep trying until you find the right person. Remember that many countries have suicide hotline numbers for you to use if you feel suicidal.
International Suicide Hotline
US Suicide Hotline
US Veterans Crisis Site
US Domestic Violence Hotline
Hotlines listed by country
Keltner & Simon-Thomas. “Science of Happiness.” EdX. Online Course, Berkley. Sept. 2014. Online Lecture.