It’s a common phenomenon: the presents are opened, the holiday sweets get finished, “Auld Lang Syne” is sung, the resolutions are made, decorations are put away, bills start arriving, and then seemingly without warning, life returns to normal. Yet rather than being like a honeymoon high, we feel deflated, let down, and perhaps even weighed down by a few new pounds.
Frequently, the joy and merriment of the holidays are followed by the sadness and discouragement of the post-holiday blues.
New Year, New You – A Practical Guide To A Better 2017
Are you having a hard time resuming your normal daily activities?
Has your energy been transplanted by the winter sluggishness?
Does it seem no matter how hard you try, you just can’t find your joy in the aftermath of the holidays?
You are not alone. I’ve been there. So have tens of thousands of other Americans. The good news is, you don’t have to stay in the valley. Here are several tips for an emotionally healthier you in the new year:
- Be gentle on yourself. You didn’t ask for it, and it didn’t happen overnight, so it won’t go away overnight either. But beating yourself up will just make you feel worse.
- Plan one thing each day that you enjoy. We are more likely to follow through on those things we actually plan and schedule in our busy lives, and this is a time to make yourself and your emotional well-being a priority.
What you plan for each day doesn’t have to be a major event. The key is that you have something each day to look forward to which you enjoy! One day it might be sitting in the sun for a few minutes during a lunch break. Another day it might be coffee with a friend on your way home from work. Another day it might be allowing yourself the luxury of a bubble bath. Or perhaps something as simple as having candles lit during dinner.
When Life Happens
So often, when life stressors hit, we get sick, or we get out of our usual routine because of the holidays, illness, or travel, the things that are the most important for our physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being are the first to go:
- Maintain a consistent bedtime. In order for your brain to regenerate the naturally occurring chemicals that help maintain our moods, our attention and concentration, and our hormonal regulation, it needs a consistent bedtime.
- Enjoy a balanced diet with adequate protein intake. Protein is the fuel that our brains need to function. When we don’t get enough protein, our mood suffer, our attention waxes, and our energy lags.
- Participate in some form of daily exercise. As little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can significantly improve mood, focus, and energy. While longer periods of exercise are optimal for our other vital organs like our heart and our lungs, as little as 15 minutes daily can help reverse the blues.
- Monitor your thoughts. Negative self-talk is a fast track to decreased mood and anxiety. Paying attention to the thoughts we have and replacing negative thoughts with positive statements can help improve our mood and set the course for the rest of the day.
We often inaccurately come to believe that our moods just happen to us. The truth is, if we will pay attention to our sleep, diet, exercise, and the things we fill our time and our mind with, we can take charge of our own emotional well-being.
When you make a commitment to these simple lifestyle goals, you prioritize your emotional well-being, and you are worth it!
This post is part of our Turn the Mic Tuesday guest series
Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist with more than 20 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and mental disorders in children, adults, and seniors. Speaker, author and doctor, Michelle is also a woman—a wife, mother and friend. She has experienced her share of trouble and trials and knows the pain of losing someone she loves as well as the despair that can follow trauma or illness.
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Calvonia Radford says
Great post Jen! I hadn’t thought about my thoughts contributing to poor health. You are right. I should be thinking more holistically. Thanks for helping us get off to a good start.
Our thoughts can play so much into our lives. Both good and bad! A lesson I am continuously learning. Have a blessed day Calvonia!
Sue Moore Donaldson says
Yes when my to do list is a little too tedious, I put in happy things – like blasting music or writing a note to a friend or planting something or moving furniture. It works and gets me to do what I need doing, and thanking God in the process. Thanks, Jen (and how are you feeling?)
Thanks Sue! I am doing well 🙂