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. You might even think that during the holidays, your property taxes won’t go up, your boss won’t give you the brush-off and your long-time crush would finally notice you.
What you should do instead: Be real and true to yourself. 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.
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. To put it another way-- you're looking for happiness in the pursuit of "stuff."
What you should do instead: Ask your loved ones to come with you and spend a whole day with people who need more than you do. Volunteer at church. 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 checking out celebrity news. They're busy buying a brand new castle-like mansion, or planning a cruise through Europe while you’re stuck at work! To make matters worse, your friends are posting things about the perfectly perfect kids with a 4.5 GPA, and their winter 10 day vacay to Hawaii.
What you should do instead: Turn these holiday depression triggers off and no, unless you want to feel bad about yourself, do not watch--or 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 enough time this season with the people who truly matter to you.
What you should do instead: Fix up an easy chicken pasta dish. Bring a pitcher of sweet tea and bake a a batch of chocolate chip cookies, then ask your loved ones for a fun and light get together. 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. Question: Why are you paying SO MUCH attention to these things?
What you should do instead: Every night, before you go to bed, write something that you’re absolutely thankful for. 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 talk radio or cable news is a mockery, a criticism or a snide comment about something.
What you should do instead: Download one of iHeartRadio's 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 or book a session at one of the most luxurious spa places because you're feeling the blues. 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 partying away all your troubles and you spend the morning eating away all your worries? Stop.
What you should do instead: Doing MORE doesn’t mean that you have to be busier‒MORE actually stands for Move, Oxygenate, Rest & Eat. Try it.
9. See the joy in every moment and laugh a lot!
What you’re doing: You frown. You cry. You furrow your eyebrows. Don't make those wrinkles worse!
What you should do: Watch funny YouTube videos. Improvisational comedy shows like Whose Line Is it Anyway? and Improv-A-Ganza are great choices. (30 second animal videos who impersonate pop stars work for me, like the TAYLOR SWIFT SHEEP or COLDPLAY TURTLE.)
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 eye bags, or even a sinus infection because your immune system is weaker.
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. A little goes a long way.