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3 Easy Ways to Shake the After-Holiday Blues

3 Easy Ways to Shake the After-Holiday Blues

Now that the excitement and busyness of the holidays is over, it’s time to take a big sigh and get back to normal daily life. This can be a tough time, especially for families who have been extra busy. The beginning of the year is when most people focus on things like taking down all the Christmas decor, (especially the outside lights), cleaning up the house, getting more organized and catching up on some lost sleep. But, some people feel a kind of emotional letdown after the holidays, and this is normal. There are also those who suffer from depression that can vary from mild to serious. Quite a few people suffer from a common winter disorder called SID (seasonal affective disorder), which can be caused by a lack of sunlight and vitamin D deficiency. If you are worried about depression, you should discuss it with your physician. If you are struggling mildly with low moods and lack of energy, here are a 3 easy things you can do that will keep you busy, cheer you up and help you shake off any sluggish winter blahs:

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Chris Reed on flickr

    1. Get outside

    Even in cold weather, you can go outside and get some exercise. Research shows that there are multiple benefits to exercise, including weight control, prevention of disease, mood improvement, more energy, and better sleep. Not only does it makes you healthier physically, but it enhances your emotional moods. Exercise can actually make you feel happier because of the release of endorphines in your brain. You can feel better just by walking. There are many ways to exercise in winter, even if you just do stretches and situps in your living room. Try getting out and doing something fun with your partner, family or friends like ice skating or cross country skiing.

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    Andrew Writer on Flickr

      2. Eat healthier

      The holidays are great for gathering families together and celebrating, but it can be easy to indulge a little too much in foods that are high in calories and overeat at holiday parties and dinners. It’s also very common to overdose on sweet snacks during the holidays like cookies, fudge and cake. So, January is a good time to try and cut back on calories and reduce your sugar intake. If you just remember to eat more raw fruits and vegetables and less processed foods, you will be doing your body a favor. Try cutting back your portions on bread, meat and dairy products, if you want to lose weight and be healthier. You might study the benefits of a vegan diet.

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      Stewartde on flickr

        3. Get creative with your photos

        One thing that definitely helps potential winter mood swings and boredom is to get busy on a creative project. One idea is to look over all the pictures you took with your phone or camera and do something with them. Here are some things you can do with your photos:

        • Make an online album to share with friends
        • Order an enlargement of the best photo
        • Enlarge old family photos to put on the wall

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        Aimee.craze on flickr
          • Make your own creative cards
          • Post your best shot on Facebook or Twitter
          • Have a keepsake photobook made

          Renauld Camus on Flickr

            Besides posting photos in an online album to share with your friends, there are other ways to enjoy pictures. Use your best holiday photos for a fun project to do with your kids, or as a way to enhance your home decor. If you have old family photos and you put them into albums or on the wall, you can cherish the memories. Cards are great to have on hand for any occasion. Photobooks are easy to create at many online sites and they are a more permanent way to make your Christmas photos something you can keep forever. If you get outside and exercise, eat healthier and dive into a creative photo project, you will most likely beat the winter blues, feel better, and get a good start on the new year.

            Featured photo credit: Greenland Travel on Flickr via flickr.com

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            Karen Bresnahan

            Photographer/Writer/Artist

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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

            One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

            In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

            Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

            1. Cat Camel Stretch

            Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

            Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

            Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

            Here’s a video to guide you through:

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            2. Go for a Walk or a Run

            This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

            Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

            The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

            Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

            Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

            3. Jumping Jacks

            Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

            Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

            4. Abductor Side Lifts

            Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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            Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

            5. Balancing Table Pose

            This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

            Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

            ablab

              6. Leg Squats

              Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

              Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

              The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

              7. Push Ups

              You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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              An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

              Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

              This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

              8. Bicycle Crunches

              There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

              Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

              9. Lunges

              Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

              Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

              This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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              10. Bicep Curls

              You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

              Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

              Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

              Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

              Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

              These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

              You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

              Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

              More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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