It’s January and you’ve got a case of the post holiday blah’s or maybe you’re feeling a little blue. You feel tired and unmotivated, bored and restless, or just don’t feel don’t feel like doing much. Most of us have experienced this at some point. There are lots of possible reasons you might be feeling this way. Maybe the holidays didn’t go as you had hoped due to family conflict or reminders of lost loved ones. Maybe you gained a few pounds (who didn’t?) and you aren’t feeling great about yourself or your body. Maybe you were running on adrenalin and caffeine and now you are crashing and exhausted. Maybe you felt this way before the holidays but were too busy to pay attention to the feeling.
Whatever the cause, here are 10 tips to help boost your mood and get you out of the blah’s.
1. Take care of yourself. Get 8 hours of sleep, or even more if you are exhausted. Remember this is not selfish. You will be a better wife, mom, friend, employee, etc. when you are well rested.
2. Take care of yourself. Nourish your body by eating well. This is crucial to feeling your best. We often indulge during the holidays, eating rich foods with limited nutritional value and this can take a toll. Begin to make small adjustments in your eating habits, choosing more fresh fruits and veggies, and less fat, sugar and alcohol. Focus on health rather than weight loss.
3. Take care of yourself. Get more exercise. This can be hard when you feel blah but if you get up and get moving a little you will feel much better. Research shows that exercise can be as effective as therapy or medication in boosting mood and relieving depression. Even though intense, aerobic exercise is most effective, any exercise will help. Again, focus on health rather than weight loss.
4. Reach out. Try to resist the tendency to withdraw or isolate yourself from friends and family. You may need a break after the holidays but don’t let it last too long. We all need people and relationships are important for physical and emotional health.
5. Spend time with a furry friend. Having a pet around has lots of benefits. Animals provide companionship, give us a sense of purpose and make us feel needed. They also lower blood pressure and heart rate, reducing feelings of stress.
6. Learn from your pet and soak up some sunshine. Our bodies need sunshine for physical and emotional health. Getting enough sunlight can be hard this time of year but even sitting in front of a sunny window for a few minutes a day can help. Remember moderation on this one. There is no need to be outside all day or sit in a tanning bed.
7. Practice gratitude. Choose to focus on the positive things in your life and allow yourself to experience gratitude for them. This may take some practice but it is well worth it.
8. Be kind to others. Helping or giving to others always feels good and can help take your focus off yourself and your own problems.
9. Be kind to yourself. Try not to mentally beat yourself up for gaining that weight, not giving the perfect gift, or whatever. Remember you are human and it’s ok not to be perfect.
10. Do something fun – especially something that makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It releases feel-good chemicals in our body and can lift our spirits.
Don’t feel like you have to try all of these ideas at once. Start by picking two or three and commit to putting them into practice consistently. You should start feeling better before long.
If you have done at least a few of these for a week or two and you are still feeling blah, you may actually be depressed. Talk with your doctor or mental health professional about how you’re feeling and begin the recommended treatment as soon as possible.