When the excitement of the holidays winds to a lull, the return to normal can be depressing. Fortunately, there are things you can do to beat the blues, and they don’t need to cost money.
Here are some simple tips to use this winter that may help lift your spirits:
Stay Social – not social media
The holidays center on social events, like parties, big meals and traveling to see people we haven’t seen in a long time. After such a flurry of social activity, you may find yourself feeling lonely when it suddenly stops. But there’s no rule saying your social calendar needs to be empty after Jan. 1. Plan some activities with friends. They don’t need to cost money. Take a walk or binge watch that show you’ve been putting off, at home with someone. Talking on the phone can be a great social outlet, too.
Getting active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially when you’re feeling a little down. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that help trigger a positive mood.
You don’t need to pay for a gym membership or an expensive exercise machine. Get outside for a quick run or walk. Stretch or do yoga in your living room, or try a free aerobics class on YouTube. You may be surprised how much better you feel when your workout is through.
Focus On Realistic Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions give us something to focus on after the holiday parties are over. It’s great to have goals and something to look forward to, but be careful not to become too perfectionist or hard on yourself about achieving resolutions. Unattainable goals only cause stress and feelings of failure. Instead, focus on realistic goals you can actually work toward and feel good about. Even small wins are wins.
Look Forward To The Next Big Thing
Thanksgiving through New Year’s isn’t the only fun season on the calendar. After the holidays, there is still plenty to look forward to with optimism. Start planning your next vacation or what you want to do on spring break. And there are still long holiday weekends in January and February, such as President’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Planning a simple family outing, staycation or dinner party with friends can refocus your thoughts.
Boost Your Mood With vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” have been linked to depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. Of course, during winter months in Oregon, exposure to sunshine can be a little scarce. Eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as tuna or cheese, or taking a supplement is an affordable option that may help improve your mood until spring.
Your Turn: What are your tips for beating the post-holiday blues? Tell us about it in the comments.