You’d think with all of the stress that the holiday season often brings with it, we’d be happy to see it go. But somehow, after the perfect meals are cooked, you (and Santa) managed to get every must-have gift, and your in-laws have gone home, we feel sentimental as we crash land into January.
With freezing temperatures and grey skies, your favorite TV shows on winter hiatus (a personal struggle), and returning to work after vacation, it’s easy to catch a case of the new year blues. But there’s a cure! Consider these tips to help you come out of winter hibernation with a smile on your face.
Step 1- Take on something new
New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad rap, but even if you don’t exactly keep up with your mission to go to the gym six days a week, you can still do something with the intention behind that idea. Have you always wanted to see what the fuss was about Zumba? Lots of gyms have guest and trial passes at the start of the year, so you can grab a friend and try it out. Latin tribal dancing not your thing? Even committing to walking around the neighborhood once a day or finally digging out that cross stitch kit you never got around to re-gifting can be considered steps in the right direction or help get you out of a rut. This doesn’t just work for adults — get kids in on the fun, too. Sign them up for a new activity or set a reading challenge for the winter months. Taking chances and indulging whims are great ways to surge your endorphins. Who knows, something could stick and become a worthwhile habit.
Step 2- Get your mind right
Yes, it’s cold. Yes, you have to go to work or do chores around the house. No, you can’t stay in your sweat pants all day. Instead of growling at passersby until you get your coffee, try to approach each day differently. Think what you want about the hokiness of positive affirmations, but there is something great about stopping yourself mid-complaint and changing your viewpoint. We might not have control over morning traffic or grumpy cashiers, but we do have control over our reactions and perspective. Instead of carrying over old stressors and attitudes from last year, think of the new year as a clean slate. Take the extra time you’ll be spending indoors to get organized, quit the stinking thinking, and muster up some energy. April will be here before you know it.
Step 3- Treat yourself
When reading this step, your mind might have immediately jumped to a shopping spree or eating an entire cheesecake, but treating yourself comes in less elaborate forms, too. Shape your days so that at some point you can have a few “me” moments, be it reading your favorite blog (or magazine), talking on the phone (or texting), catching up on a show on the DVR, or going for a run. Sure, a full uninterrupted day at the spa is a fantasy for most of us, but carving out even 15 minutes to do something you like can make winter an easier pill to swallow.
Getting back into the swing of things isn’t always fun, but reshaping your approach, adding a few new activities, and taking some time for yourself could make the next few months fly by. However, if you feel like the blues are here to stay, seek help where you feel most comfortable, whether it’s talking with friends or family or a counselor.
How are you battling the post-holiday blues?