Try these top 10 ways to beat the post-Christmas blues:
Make a plan
After the excitement of Christmas, going back to a regular, mundane routine is enough to lower anybody's spirits. Alleviate this feeling of ennui by creating something to look forward to. Depending on your budget and lifestyle, this could be a night out to booking a trip away. Whatever you plan, make sure it is something you will really look forward to, then count down the days.
Exercise your funny bone
Laughter is an extremely effective mood-booster, releasing endorphins which instantly raise spirits and give a feeling of well-being. Grab a funny DVD or book and spend a few hours exercising your laughter muscles to raise your spirits.
Brave your fears
If you are feeling listless and uninspired after the festive period, step out of your comfort zone and take a few risks. Make a commitment to doing one thing a week (or day) that makes you feel scared and takes you out of your comfort zone. Whether it is something small, such as starting a conversation with a stranger, or big, such as emigrating to another country, conquering your fears will put you in a positive mood.
Although feeling glum is unlikely to put you in the mood to exercise, getting up and active is actually one of the best things you can do. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, and if weight gain is one of the things getting you down, it will help you to quickly shift those excess kilograms. Go for a run, or try a spot of yoga or Tai Chi to help put you in a better frame of mind.
Eat yourself happy
Although it may be tempting to bury your sorrows under piles of junk food, a healthy diet is much more effective at helping you feel good.
Some mood-boosting foods include those containing B vitamins, which help the brain produce serotonin, such as wholegrains, nuts and Vegemite, and those containing Omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish or flaxseeds, which can help lift depression.
If you find that you are fixated on your mood, distract yourself by focusing on others. Do some volunteer work, or if you are short of time, make a commitment to doing one small act of kindness a day, such as listening to a friend's problem or smiling at a stranger. Helping others will distract you from your own feelings and help you put things into perspective. Smiling is contagious and helping others feel happy will also put you in a better mood.
Perk up your social life
Spending time with others can be one of the greatest mood-boosters, but you can't always rely on everybody else to make the plans. If your social life could do with a boost, get proactive. Pick up the phone and call someone, or arrange to visit someone who lives a long way away. Alternatively, take up a hobby or join a club, and meet new people to spend time with.
Get your finances in order
One of the reasons many people feel blue after Christmas is because they have finance worries. Rather than worrying about it, sit down and sort out your financial situation. See what shape you are in financially and, if necessary, set yourself a budget for the next few months or so. This may make you feel even worse right now but going on in ignorance means that your worries will only eat away at you. Face your finances, work out how to move forward, and then you can move on, feeling more sorted and happier.
Ring the changes
If the thought of going back to your regular routine is depressing, perhaps you should see this as a sign you need to make changes. Although everyone feels a bit down about returning to work, if the thought is really making you blue, then think about changing your job.
Or perhaps you need to think about ditching another aspect of your lifestyle that is making you unhappy; your relationship, perhaps, or those extra kilos. Look at what needs to be changed and then make a plan to tackle it in small steps. Instead of despairing, go in to the new year motivated and ready to kick-start your best year yet.
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