By Maddie Rodriguez

Create Your Own Happy.

Throughout December we hear so much about the Most Wonderful Time of the Year that if you aren’t feeling particularly merry, it can be very frustrating and even lonely time of year. Here are some tips to help you fight the winter blues:

Opt out.
With the holiday season often comes a flood of invitations to dinners, get-togethers, and parties and a ton of corresponding social pressure. Know that you do not have to participate in every event to which you are invited. A warm but firm, “I’m sorry, I can’t make it this time” is a perfectly acceptable answer. Don’t isolate yourself, but focus on spending time with the people who truly make you happy, rather than feeling like you have to be a social butterfly.

Treat yourself.
This time of year “treats” often involve expensive gifts or lavish meals, which can sometimes leave you feeling worse than before. Instead try giving yourself something small to satisfy your spirit: finish up that book you’ve been reading, even if it means putting off the dishes for an extra hour; go for a long, misty walk, even if it’s just you and your thoughts; buy a plant and help it grow; or treat yourself to an experience, like a visit to the museum or an independent theatre.

Pick a project.
Sometimes a positive distraction can be the best medicine. If everyone around you is hustling and bustling with the season and you’re just not feeling it this year, use this time to really focus on the project you keep putting off—paint your kitchen, put together a scrapbook of your last vacation, start an exercise challenge. See if there’s a friend or loved one in the same boat who wants to join you.

It’s hard feeling down any time of year, but the holiday season blues are sometimes the toughest to bear. The most important thing to keep in mind is that there’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not alone. Reach out to your friends, family and community whenever you need. It may seem like ages away now, but remember: spring is on its way.