According to British research, January is the most depressing time of the year. Why? The weather is gloomy, your holiday high has faded, your New Year’s resolutions seem daunting, and opening your post-Christmas credit card statement can be quite frightening. As many of you have probably experienced in your life, emotions can play quite a heavy role when it comes to discipline, diet, and physical health. Therefore, it may come to no surprise that most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of the month.
Below are some tips to dealing with some of the most problematic emotions you may be feeling post-holidays.
Depression – Probably the most common negative emotion people have after the holidays. Dragging yourself back to work, or a routine, after spending what seemed like only a minute of relaxation and joy. Or maybe you didn’t get a chance to really enjoy your holidays because you were too busy planning, organizing, and making sure everyone else had a wonderful holiday. Regardless of the reason why you’re depressed, life is too short to be moping around and feeling miserable.
Try eating fruits. A British and American study showed that people who ate more than two servings of fruits and vegetables daily reported higher levels of happiness than those who ate less. Moreover, the findings suggested that the more produce you eat, the more your mood can improve (Men’s Health). People who ate 7 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day were the happiest of all. Try loading your fridge with frozen berries (no added fructose). They have a long shelf-life, make great quick snacks, and retain a lot of their antioxidants, even when frozen.
Loneliness – Now that your family and friends have probably flown back home to go on with their lives, and all the wonderful parties have ended, you may be feeling quite lonely. You may be looking back at all the joyful pictures you took over the holidays and reminisce about all the great times you’ve had over the past couple of weeks, making you even more depressed that it’s over.
An effective way to stop from feeling lonely is to make new bonds with people with similar interests. Try going to one of the classes at your gym (most are usually free and are included in your membership) such as dance, yoga, aerobics, and kickboxing. You can also take a class you are passionate about at a community college such as a foreign language or a literature class. Being surrounded with like-minded people is an easy way to form friendships.
Anxiety– Are you nervous about going back to work or school? Worrying about how you are going to pay your latest credit card statements? Anxiety and stress can make us more tempted to eat food, especially junk food. This is because stress usually intensifies the taste of sweet and salty foods, making eating under stress more pleasurable. This can make counting calories and staying on a diet quite a challenge.
Try to do at least half an hour of moderate-intensity cardio three times a week. Exercise is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety as it can provide a soothing effect similar to that of anti-anxiety meds. Smiling can also reduce your stress and also has the added benefit of calming your heart rate. If you hate exercising and going to the gym, act like you like it. Eventually all the benefits you will reap will put a genuine smile on that face.
Kuzma, Cindy. “When Your Feelings Turn Fatal.” Men’s Health. 2012: 90-92. Print.