Riding high through the holidays

by Sierra Sugar

2020 has been a year! I think we can all agree on that. And as we roll into the holiday season, it is not just the stress of the year behind us that brings us down, but also holiday stress and blues. What is a driver to do? How do you ride high after a year full of lows? Here are five tips to help you navigate through the holidays with high spirits.

1. Unplug! Instead of feeding the beast that is misery, anger, hate, and depression – starve it. Unplug! Either get off social media and live in the real world or adjust your social media feed, so you stop seeing things that upset or depress you.

We’ve all fallen into the trap of needing to know, comment, and argue the minutiae of life, from (the big one) politics to how someone dresses or where they choose to eat. Are you really changing anyone’s mind? Are they changing yours? Put down your phone and step away. If you can’t do that, then unfollow, unfriend, or block people and pages that constantly raise your blood pressure.

Whatever you need to do for your own peace of mind is ok. Just because someone is family, or a close friend does not mean you have to see everything they post or say on social media. Unfollow them through the holidays. Follow pages of puppies and kittens, of good music, or of pretty pictures. The more you like and comment on these positive, fun things, the less your social media feed will show you things that you are trying to avoid.

2. Let the Sunshine In! Fall and Winter can be beautiful times of the year. But the same reason the leaves change colors, is also the same reason so many suffer from seasonal depression. SAD or Season Affective Disorder is a real thing and is caused by shorter days and lack of direct sunlight. Put on a jacket and go for a walk. Let that sunshine on your face and lift your spirits. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. Our bodies make Vitamin D from sunshine. OMG we’re a plant! But seriously, it’s not an apple a day that keeps the doctor away, it is sunshine that keeps the blues at bay. Get a little every single day to lift your spirits.

Riding High Icons 033. Learn to say “No.”  Holidays are a busy time of year. In trucking, the loads slow down this time of year, but life picks up everywhere else. It’s the holiday season and everyone wants to travel or visit. Maybe you have big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, New Year’s Eve plans, company parties to attend, local events and parades, shopping, decorating, hosting guests, traveling… the list goes on.

Learn to say NO. There is no rule that you must do all of these, or any of them. Divvy up your holiday time as if each day or event were a clean dish, let’s say a spoon. You only have so many clean spoons, and once they are used up you need to wait for them to be washed, and that takes time. This is your rest time. You wouldn’t eat off a dirty spoon, so don’t let unnecessary stressful plans eat up your time and well-being. When you are out of spoons say NO and rest.

4. Challenge yourself. Being positive isn’t something that happens to us. It is a choice we make every single day. It is something we all must work at becoming and maintaining. For someone who is always negative, who lets outside forces such as other people’s words or opinions affect them, being positive can be a challenge. (FYI – this is me! I am right there with you.) So, challenge yourself. How? Be a devil’s advocate with your foul mood. Put your depression under a microscope. Ask yourself if there is a different way you can look at the situation. Why are you upset? Why are you feeling depressed? These are not easy questions to answer. People spend years and thousands of dollars in therapy to try to get to the bottom of whatever is wrong. And what are they doing in therapy? Being asked and forced to challenge themselves, to look deep to the root cause. You don’t need a couch and a big wallet to find the answers. You can do it yourself, all for the cost of a pen and a notebook. Keep a journal and write in it daily. Be honest with yourself. This isn’t for anyone else to read, so no need to embellish or lie. Write about what you are feeling and why. There is no right or wrong. Just write. To use a graphic literary term, “word vomit,” your feelings all over the page! Let it all out. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or penmanship. Just get it out.

When you’re done spilling your guts to yourself and upchucked all the negative from the day onto paper, then write one thing that you are thankful for. Even if the only positive you can think of is you woke up today, or maybe fuel was 2 cents cheaper today, anything. But every single day, challenge yourself to write down ONE positive thing in your life for which you are grateful.

5. Play! That’s right; play. I think as adults, we get so bogged down with work, family, health, the state of the world, and everything else that we stress about daily that we don’t just forget to have fun, but we have forgotten how!

Crank the radio and dance in your seat. Sing to your dispatcher, even if you sing off-key. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Turn off the TV and go watch the sunset. Go fishing. Be silly. Laugh out loud. And do whatever you need to do to bring a little fun and joy into your life. It truly is the little things that matter.

Fun can be spontaneous, but it can also be intentional. During a time of year that is wrought with stress and blues, fun absolutely should be intentional. Plan to have fun. Don’t just pencil it in, write it in with permanent marker in capital bold letters! You’ve worked hard all year, and YOU DESERVE FUN AND HAPPINESS. Don’t wait for someone else to bring it to you, be intentional, and do fun things for yourself!

Sierra Sugar is a blogger and writer with a passion for trucking, travel, adventure, tiny living, and cooking. Involved in the trucking industry for nearly four years, she has experienced living on the truck 24/7 for three of those years with her husband, Allen Wilcher, a 30-year veteran truck driver. For more on Sierra visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter Website: http://www.SweetLifeOfSierraSugar