It’s that time of year! We start out with such energy and excitement for the holidays! We change our radio stations to hear some Christmas tunes, we decorate our house and fill up our calendars with fun parties to attend, but by the time it’s all over, we are usually exhausted, often broke, and almost always a few pounds heavier.
I’ve found that anytime I’m in a funk, there are always a few things I can do to help myself come out of it more quickly. I’ve also found there are some things that can keep me there longer as well (#netflixandbrownies)! In order to proactively avoid the post-holiday blues, I want to share with you the ones that help instead of hurt and will inevitably have you feeling more fun and less funky.
1. Do One Productive Thing
A lot of times our funk comes from feeling overwhelmed or unproductive. Often we just need to focus on one thing at a time, one hour at a time, in order to tackle our day. Give yourself one project, even if it’s as small as paying that bill that’s been sitting there or doing the dishes. Or maybe conquer something that’s been on your list for a while, like the messy linen closet or junk drawer. Usually one thing leads to another and before you know it you’ve crossed several things off your list and feel much better about your life.
This is often something overlooked, but we tend to stay up late or push ourselves too hard during the holidays. Sometimes, all that stands in our way between a good mood and a bad mood is a nap or going to bed early for a few nights. I’ve read that the adrenal glands, which are responsible for many of your stress hormones, reset between the hours of 11pm and 2am? The body needs between 7-10 hours of sleep a night but it’s imperative to be asleep during those hours in order to give your body the rest and reset it needs. That means turning off your screens at least one hour before bed and being in bed between 10-10:30pm at the latest. Your sleep affects your countenance so much more than you could ever guess!
How many times have we heard a song that puts a smile on our face by reminding us of an experience, person, or emotion? I went to a Buti Yoga class a couple weeks back that had a ’90s hip hop playlist and could not stop grinning the whole time as “Gangsta’s Paradise” and several other diddies rolled off my tongue as if I were back in college riding down to the lake with my sunroof open and my roommates in tow. I left that class in a totally different mood! Throw on some Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, or Backstreet Boys—I don’t know your jam! But get to dancing or cleaning or just go for a drive with your windows down and your tunes blaring and I dare you to feel worse afterward.
“I’ve found that anytime I’m in a funk, there are always a few things I can do to help myself come out of it more quickly.”
Don’t know how? I beg to differ. Worry is a form of meditation and I’m positive you know how to do that. Try meditating on something positive instead! A Bible verse, a place you love, a memory you cherish, or a focus on your breathing will allow your mind to find quiet. There is an amazing app called “Headspace: Meditation” that gives you 10 free meditation sessions just three minutes each to teach you the basics. Taking time to be still will do wonders for your perspective!
This might feel like the last thing you want to do, but just tell yourself to do 15 minutes of anything. Walk, run, go to the gym, use a dvd, go to a class you enjoy (barre, zumba, yoga, kickboxing). Just get moving. There is study after study that shows that exercise helps fight depression and anxiety more than medicine can because it encourages the release of proteins called neurotrophic which improves brain function.
6. Take a Social Media Break and Be Social Instead
Often times we feel down and disconnected because we are…wait for it…disconnected! With social media we often have the illusion of connectedness and closeness and can’t understand why we feel lonely. A scroll down your newsfeed is not the same thing as a face to face chat or phone call with a friend. Take a walk and talk to your neighbor or reach out to someone you love for dinner or coffee. They probably need a moment to connect as well!
7. Eat Some Produce
Often times our mood is connected to our diet. We can have a crash after caffeine or sugar or even feel depressed if we eat something that causes inflammation in our body such as gluten or dairy. Our gut is called our “second brain” and our choices directly impact how we feel. Eating things that are alive will nourish you and have a direct impact on how you feel. Example: how do you feel after a colorful nutritious salad or green smoothie? Most times you will feel an energy you just can’t get from “dead” or processed foods.
8. Go Outside
We spend far too much time indoors! Especially in the winter! If the weather allows, go for a walk! Or just walk around your yard or take a trip to the mail box. If you are able, walk barefoot in the grass, dirt, or sand. This process called “earthing” reduces inflammation, stress hormones, and even pain! It works even better if the ground is wet.
9. Do One Kind Thing
I saved the best for last! Feeling down? Help someone else! There is no greater cure for sadness then to serve. You literally cannot feel poorly when you’ve done something nice for someone else. Give money anonymously to someone you know needs it, have your neighbors over for dinner, or watch your overwhelmed friends’ kids for an afternoon or date night. You’ll be surprised by how easy this is and how quickly it changes your mood for the better.
Feeling funky? Got the holiday blues? Just choose one thing from the list above that appeals most to you at that moment and give yourself an opportunity to get out of your head and get into a better mood! There is no need to marinate in a negative mindset when there are so many options to help you overcome, but I know that often, when we are there, it’s hard to remember what to do. Maybe you could copy and paste this list into your phone or print and stick it on the inside of a cabinet somewhere to help bring these things to mind! Cheers to a funk-free holiday season!
“Often we just need to focus on one thing at a time, one hour at a time, in order to tackle our day.”