By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
The holidays are supposed to be more cheery than teary, but sometimes, we feel more blah than fa-la-la.
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We can blame some of the blues on stress. According to a survey by Sleepbetter.org, 26 percent of women say they expect to lose sleep over the coming weeks due to holiday stress, and 42 percent of women are worried about holiday expenses.
But it's also a result of less natural sunlight (which can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder), family craziness (any issues are magnified around the holidays) and even poor eating and exercise habits, which can affect mood.
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Follow these tips to kick your Bah Humbug attitude to the curb, and get in the holiday spirit.
Get a massage
A recent study from Cedars Sinai Medical Canter showed that just one massage session reduces heart rate and blood pressure and increases endorphins. For an affordable rub-down, check to see if there's a Massage Envy location near you (there are 648 locations nationwide). The introductory massage is just $39.
Switch it up in the New Year
Whether it's a new hair color, new makeup, a new workout routine or taking a dance or pottery class, start thinking of ways to refresh yourself come 2011, suggests Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Romance), psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. This will give you something to look forward to when the holidays end and depression can really spike.
Slow up, girl!
The two months leading up to the holidays are complicated -- coordinating with family, buying gifts, cooking, shopping and entertaining. Tessina says it's essential to make sure you take time to incorporate activities that are easy and fun for you. Take a bike ride along the beach or river (sunlight = happiness!), read a new novel, watch your favorite hilarious movie or meet your BFF for coffee. When you're done, you'll feel rejuvenated and happy because you did something for YOU!
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Skipping breakfast and loading up with refined sugar wreaks havoc on your blood sugar, sending it spiking than crashing, which can zap your energy. "In order to start beating those blues, from first thing in the morning you must remember to start with breakfast," says celebrity nutritionist Leanne Ely, author of Saving Dinner. "Breakfast breaks your fast from the night before and stokes your metabolism, helping you to be more alert and feel good, ready to start the day with a renewed, optimistic perspective." Ely suggests starting the day with a feel-good smoothie made with coconut milk (which may help jack up feel-good endorphins).
Give yourself some credit
At the end of the day, instead of focusing on what you didn't get done, make a "look-what-I-did-today list," suggests stress management expert Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life.
How do you stay in the holiday spirit?
More from SELF:
- Heidi Klum's Happy, Healthy Life
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Like a Guy
- How to Destress with Yoga: How To Do A Sun Salutation
- The Workweek Diet
- Makeover your upper body now!
Photo Credit: WWD