Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Post-Holiday!

Happy Monday-after-the-holidays! I hope you had a merry Christmas and a happy new year. If you're anything like me, you're probably having a bit of trouble transitioning out of the holiday season and back to regular life. It's rough going from sitting around reading, watching TV, and eating to heading back to work, feeling slightly fatter than last month, and cleaning up all the leftover tinsel and wrapping paper. Our culture will tell you all you need is a new gym membership, a better gaming system, or to treat yourself to a shopping spree after this joyous (but stressful) season. But deep down, you and I both know the truth: the last thing you need is even more stuff. Here are three simple things you might have missed during the hustle and bustle that may help to regulate your life:
1). Go for a walk: Scientists have linked this simple activity with an increase in mental clarity, physical health, and just plain happiness. Don't have time for that full on, extreme workout you promised yourself you'd do everyday? You can at least go for a short walk. This study states that walking just 5 minutes a day in a natural area can really boost those endorphins, which will help motivate you for your more intense workout days. Another study made this incredible claim:
"Six years ago, Britain's chief medical health officer issued a statement saying there is no difference in the effectiveness of treating clinical depression with physical activity than treating it with drugs." Whether you've struggled with depression or just need a lift after all the holiday stress, this is good advice to take to heart.
2). Go on a date: You may feel you've spent every last second with family and the ones you love this past week, so much so that you want to crawl into a cave until March rolls around. But consider your spouse or significant other. I know that even though my husband and I were with each other for the entire holiday, we didn't get much alone time unless you count falling into bed exhausted every night together. Take some time to have one-on-one time. Go somewhere special, just the two of you. It will be a nice change of pace from traveling in the family herd. If you aren't in a relationship right now, take the opportunity to call a friend who you usually get to see but with all the relatives and old school pals coming through town, you've neglected hanging out with. You can swap stories about your crazy families. If none of those sound right, take yourself out: go to the coffee shop, take a book, and just chill for awhile as you stare out the window.
3). Give everything it's place: Take the time to give the new gifts you've received the proper place in your home and life. Go through your old things and get rid of what you don't need anymore. Start small: maybe just the sock drawer today. Sean threw out two old pairs of jeans last night because he got some really nice ones for Christmas. It will give you a sense of accomplishment to simplify your life and to lessen the clutter in your home. If you got a new blender for Christmas, seriously consider giving your old one to someone who could use it or selling it; don't put it in a box in the basement "just in case" or worse, let it take up precious shelf space in your kitchen. Deal with your things now, while they're new, and you'll have more fulfillment in the year to come. -hil