Q: How can I avoid the holiday blues? I always seem to get so maudlin this time of year, and I’d really like to enjoy the holiday season more. Depression isn’t the holiday spirit!

A. You’re in luck! Torrey Harrison, LCSW, and Stephanie LeBlanc, LCSW, both from Tri-County Mental Health, talked about this at a recent Senior College presentation on depression. They offered some concrete tips (see their holiday blues ideas in this recent blog on depression) and also talked about focusing on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness:

Physical – healthy patterns, eating, exercise, imbibing, sleeping

Emotional – awareness, expressing, managing

Social – positive supports, regular contact

Occupational – sense of purpose and meaning in everyday life

Intellectual – activities that are creative, learning something new

Financial – making conscious spending decisions, planning and preparing

Environmental – pleasing surroundings support physical/mental health

Spiritual – connect with something greater than one’s self

Can you work through one dimension every day, really thinking about the small changes you can make, that might add up to feeling better? Harrison and LeBlanc also mentioned using a full-spectrum light to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder, getting enough exercise, and connecting with others as a way to combat depression. Read their depression tips here.