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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 September 20, 2018

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

            If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

            1. Breathe

            The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

            • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
            • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
            • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

            Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

            2. Loosen up

            After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

            Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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            3. Chew slowly

            Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

            Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

            Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

            4. Let go

            Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

            The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

            It’s not. Promise.

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            Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

            Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

            21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

            5. Enjoy the journey

            Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

            Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

            6. Look at the big picture

            The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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            Will this matter to me…

            • Next week?
            • Next month?
            • Next year?
            • In 10 years?

            Hint: No, it won’t.

            I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

            Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

            7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

            You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

            Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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            8. Practice patience every day

            Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

            • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
            • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
            • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

            Final thoughts

            Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

            Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

            Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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