Monday, December 23, 2013

Simple Depression-Easing Holiday Activities

When you're feeling depressed, celebrating the holidays can seem overwhelming.
The first thing to do is realize that whatever you feel about the holidays this year is OK. Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel, to be numb or uninterested.
The second thing to do is realize that taking action helps to alleviate depression, or at least keep it from deepening. If you do not want to do anything to celebrate the holidays, you do not have to. However, if you can muster a little energy, you might try these simple activities to brighten your day.

Simmering Scents

The next time you grocery shop, pick up a jar or tin of whole cloves, whole or ground nutmeg and some cinnamon sticks. Then one afternoon or evening, fill your home with the scent of holiday potpourri.
In a medium saucepan, simmer:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg or 1 tsp. of ground nutmeg
Add additional water and spices as needed if you choose to keep it going.

Note of Appreciation

Write a simple note of appreciation to anyone who is a welcome part of your life. It can be on a holiday card, a plain sheet of paper or blank note card. Just two or three handwritten lines are all that is necessary.
For instance, the note of appreciation might be to a neighbor who you may not pal around with but is always available if you need help. He or she will give you a stamp or a cup of sugar if you need to borrow one, or will gladly help you move a piece of furniture. Write a note to a co-worker who has been supportive and always has a ready smile. Or write to a friend or family member who always remembers your birthday – even when you forget his or hers.

Mini Holiday Party

You can enjoy this treat by yourself or turn it into a very small, simple holiday party with one to three friends. It is always beneficial to socialize when you are depressed, even if it feels difficult.


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 oz.)
  • 7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed and 4 left whole
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 4 mugs


  1. Pour cocoa into medium saucepan. Gradually whisk the milk into the cocoa until all the cocoa has dissolved. Add the chocolate chips, crushed peppermint and pinch of salt.
  2. Simmer over medium heat until the peppermint and chocolate are melted, stirring occasionally. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Ladle the drink into mugs and serve each with a peppermint stick.
If you need to, ask one of your friends to help you prepare the cocoa. Enjoy!
Source: Martha Stewart
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