Janet Marshall is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Living section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter. She thinks most things are fine in moderation.
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Make some plans
Open the blinds, plan a vacation and clean the house! Those three things can help you steer clear of the post-holiday blues, says Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, a clinical psychologist.
It’s pretty common to feel a little down after the excitement of the holidays wears off. In early December, there’s so much to look forward to. And then the New Year hits, and the skies are still grey… It can be easy to slip into a funk.
A study last year showed that the anticipation of something special brings us great joy. And the aftermath? Not so much. The study focused on vacationers and found that people about to head off on a trip had a strong sense of contentment…and it didn’t last once the vacation was over. It’s not a stretch to think the same thing happens with holidays.
So, Dr. Granpeesheh — based in California and perhaps best known as the founder of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders — came up with a list of 10 ways to battle the post-holiday blues. The tips landed in my inbox, and they’re worth sharing. In condensed form, they are:
1. Exercise 30 minutes a day, eat right and eat regularly.
2. Find a sense of purpose. Volunteer, take a class — something to get you out and around people, which can fend off loneliness.
3. Plan. Get a vacation, party, date night or something else onto your calendar so you have something to look forward to.
4. If you miss the holidays, find a way to keep them alive. Hang some lights around your bathroom mirror, or make a scrapbook of holiday photos.
5. Clean your house. Organizing can help you clear your mind.
6. Sleep well — getting 8 hours a night can boost your mood.
7. Take charge of your finances. If you overspent during the holidays, create a plan for paying off debt.
8. Meditate. Focusing on the present can help you relax.
9. Keep in touch with/reconnect with loved ones. Have regular family meals, and email or call old friends.
10. Open the blinds and get some sunlight in your life. If you’re struggling with depression that seems seasonal, talk to a doctor about whether you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can be helped by therapy with a light box.