The festive season has finally fizzled out. The presents are unwrapped, the champagne corks are popped, and the pull-out bed is a couch again. If the end of the most wonderful time of year has left you feeling less than jolly, you're not alone.
Studies show that many people experience anxiety, loneliness, and feelings of helplessness after the holidays. The good news is, it's easier than you think to start (or restart) healthy habits for body and mind that will make the new year brighter than ever.
Nothing derails our daily schedules quite like the holidays, so the fastest way to get back on track in January is to return to a regular routine right away. Start by going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning to reset your circadian rhythm.
Once you feel like you’re back in the driver’s seat with your schedule, getting into the swing of things will be a cinch.
If you've been shirking your workout routine since Thanksgiving, be gentle with yourself. Exercise releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins, so treat it like a reward, not a repentance for bad holiday habits. If you're not feeling it, bundle up and go for a brisk mood-boosting walk outside instead of undertaking an intense training session at the gym.
Scandinavians embrace a concept called friluftsliv in the winter, which translates to "free air life." Staying active outdoors in nature will make you feel happier and healthier, no matter the season. Remember: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!
Weeks of filling up on stodgy comfort food will make anyone feel sluggish. Pack your post-holiday meal plan with whole, minimally processed foods and plenty of colorful fruits and veggies for a much-needed nutritional boost.
This should clear away some of the leftover lethargy and brain fog from haphazard holiday eating and drinking habits.
Chances are, sugary soft drinks, sweet baked goods, and syrupy cocktails have been a regular feature in your diet lately. Too much refined sugar can lead to weight gain, insulin dysregulation, tooth decay, and inflammation. Even worse, it can be addictive. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar per day and women no more than six.
When you consider that a 12-ounce can of soda contains eight or more teaspoons, you can see how quickly it adds up! Keep a close eye on nutrition labels to keep your sugar consumption in check. You'd be surprised at how much is hiding in your favorite foods.
Still craving Christmas cookies in January? Your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, which can cause you to reach for the nearest sugary soda or salty snack instead of downing some of the water you need to feel your best.
Like many people, you might have slacked off on your water intake over the past month or so. Using water to bury real hunger cues is a slippery slope related to disordered eating, but staying well-hydrated really does boost concentration, aid digestion, and replenish energy levels, helping you get your new year off to a healthy start.
Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey on self-care. It’s okay to say no to social engagements or extra work assignments if you feel like you have too much on your plate.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew at the start of the new year, or you’ll burn yourself out before it begins.
If the holidays have left you feeling somewhat strapped for cash come January, look for ways to cut back on your expenses. Are you paying for subscriptions or services you're no longer using? Microtransactions and impulse buys can also add up.
Making a budget and sticking to it can help you regain your financial footing. The money you’ll save will help you get your year off to a stronger start.
Holiday distractions and house guests may have temporarily freed you from your phone addiction, so don’t let yourself fall back into bad habits when life quiets down again. The start of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of how much time you waste scrolling and tapping, and address the issue.
You’ll be amazed at how much your quality of life improves and how much free time you gain when you're not checking your phone every 10 minutes.
One of the best ways to banish the post-holiday blues is to start planning something new to look forward to, whether it’s a weekend getaway in an Airbnb or finally going on that dream vacation overseas.
Studies suggest that simply anticipating an upcoming trip can evoke stronger positive emotions than the trip itself!
Don’t fall into the trap of making lofty New Year's resolutions that will make you feel like a failure by February. Instead of setting yourself up for a guilt trip, set realistic goals for yourself that actually inspire you.
It may help to make a fun-filled “bucket list” for the year ahead as a way to hold yourself accountable to your ambitions. Accomplishing these smaller goals will give you a sense of achievement that will keep you motivated.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.