Let's face it. Crawling relentlessly back to work after fun-filled weeks of indulging in homemade sweets and festive family fun is less than merry. Faced with a bulging belly, a stack of credit card receipts and an insurmountable work agenda, it's easy to unconsciously slip into a funk. Add to that the frigid cold weather and grey skies, and you have yourself a case of Post-Traumatic Holiday Disorder (PTHD).
Gawking at an overwhelming pile of garbage leaves you paralyzed, and the thought of dead tree removal crushes your spirits. Well, as life moves forward with schedules, deadlines and cleaning, there is a way to combat this seasonal depression. Instead of an expensive trip to the tropics, beat back the ghost of post-holiday melancholy with some mood-altering tips. And welcome your psyche into a new year without further tipping the scale of debt.
1. Get Exercise. Your expanded waistline will thank you. Bundle up and go outside for a walk. The sun is bound to come out and shed some uplifting Vitamin D on your skin. Short on time? Hit the gym. Fifteen minutes on the elliptical or bike is enough to release those precious "feel good" hormones. Better yet, learn how to ski or snowboard. Distract your mind with the "double whammy" of learning a new task and boosting adrenalin at the same time. For the snowsports virgin, go to snow.com for a Peaks Rewards free membership. Earn points on purchases and redeem them for free lift tickets, ski school lessons and exclusive discounts at participating resorts. Additionally, the site walks you through planning a ski or snowboard outing.
2. Listen To Music. Heard just about one-too-many renditions of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer"? Switch it up. Play some uplifting jazz at your work desk or rock out to your favorite tunes while hitting the treadmill. Music enriches your environment and enhances your mood. Just make sure to choose uplifting tunes so you won't pull yourself further down into the dumps. Sick of your tunes? Stream free online music at pandora.com.
3. Express Gratitude. Do you still hear Frank Sinatra whispering into you ear, "…have yourself a Merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light…"? There's a reason for that. Maintaining a "light" heart is the key to elevating your spirits. Even more so after the celebrations are over. Turn a chalkboard into a family gratitude board. Every morning, jot down a reason why you are thankful. Use this as your mantra throughout the day. For inspiration, visit "Zen Habits" for grateful hints.
4. Recycle. Garbage pile got you down? Instead of paying for trash removal, exercise your appreciation for the Earth by recycling your holiday garbage. Stockpile used bows and barely wrinkled wrapping paper for use next year. Cardboard boxes stash great for future shipments and birthday presents. Lastly, glass bottles and aluminum cans…well, that's a no-brainer.
5. Watch a Funny Movie. Put a new spin on date night. Movies are an inexpensive way to escape reality, if only for a fleeting moment. Funny movies make you laugh, further fueling contentment. Grab a bowl of popcorn and a cozy spot on the couch! Laughter reduces stress while ramping up the body's immune system. Choose newly-released Indy films or fashion your own weekly Sundance Film Festival by watching free Indy movies here.
6. Daydream. Plan your summer vacation and envision yourself sipping margaritas on the beach. Daydreaming allows your mind to take a break and releases tension. A few minutes of daydreaming leaves you refreshed and renewed. As an added bonus, daydreaming enhances productivity, allowing you to better tackle that pile on your desk. Use your lunch break to go one step further and visit Away.com for vacation ideas, travel advice and rate comparisons.
7. Sleep. Sleep and mood are joined at the hip so get horizontal and catch up on some much-needed Zs. Most adults require 7-8 hours of shut-eye to feel fully rejuvenated. This allows the body time to stockpile what's needed to tackle the next day. Oh, and remember the "feel good" hormone (serotonin) I was talking about? A sound night's sleep boosts serotonin levels, heightening your mood.
8. Start a Project. Turn holiday pictures into a scrapbook. Highlight the stand-out events of the year. Scrapbooks and photo albums archive lasting memories you can turn to for a boost at any time. Save up to 50% on photo books at Shutterfly. Or, forget about the holidays and take up knitting, sewing or any other hobby you put on the back burner. Go here for 101 Hobby Ideas.
9. Eat Healthy. Your body deserves a break too. Concentrate on foods loaded with vitamins and curb your addiction to sweets. Controlling your blood sugar and regulating your vitamin intake eliminates the moody ups and downs. Visit "Today Health" for tips on elevating your mood with foods.
10. Surround Yourself With Joy. Avoid Negative Nellies and converse with uplifting people instead. Hanging out with a sulky co-worker only contributes to the blues. Negativity is contagious, but luckily so is happiness. For added ammunition to battle pessimism read "6 Tips for Dealing with Negative Nellies." Still, to guarantee optimism, surround yourself with children. Their goofiness and light-hearted nature makes you soon forget your woes and forces you to live in the moment.
This has been a guest post by Christina from Tetonia, ID
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