This time of the year can be difficult for many people. Feelings of loneliness are common when happiness and connection appear to be mandatory during the holidays. Add in the shorter days and cooler temperatures and you have a recipe for increased likelihood for depression. This year has an added isolating stressor of a pandemic. So what measures can you take to decrease feelings of sadness and loneliness?


First, try to connect with others as much as possible. When it isn’t possible to do so in person, there are many opportunities to connect through online Bible studies, groups that center around common interests, or even just talking one-on-one with another person through FaceTime, Zoom, or another free platform. During this time of year, you may not feel like reaching out. This can increase the feeling of loneliness and depression. Have you heard the phrase “fake it until you can make it?” This applies here! Reach out even when you don’t feel like it so you can increase connection and decrease feelings of loneliness.


Second, exercise! Now, I’m not saying join your local CrossFit when you haven’t worked out a day in your life. No, start easy. Research has shown even a 10 minute walk can improve those feel-good chemicals in your brain, particularly if you’re able to walk outside and get the added benefit of the sun. If you want to crank up the usefulness of an outside walk, add mindfulness to it. When you walk, pay attention to what you see, what you hear, and what you smell.


Third, and this is one that you may not want to hear, is nutrition. Now I’m not saying ditch all the junk food (although that would be very beneficial). Instead, try to be conscious of what you are eating and drinking. Can you choose to drink a glass of water instead of a soda this time? What about eating fruit instead of the closest candy bar? Little changes can make a big difference.


Finally, if you find that you just can’t get out of your “funk” no matter what you do, it may be time to seek out the help of a licensed professional. There are many available with many options. Take the steps to feel better! You can do it!