It's been a strange year, no doubt about it - from weird weather to the recent, surprising presidential election. But this is a season that should be filled with joy, laughter and family...the happiest, most carefree of them all, right? Well, unfortunately, November and December are actually two tough months that drive many of us a little mad. So if you are feeling the "winter blues", know you aren't alone!
After talking with a handful of dear friends and close colleagues, it seems to me that the nasty "Q4 virus" is hitting people harder than ever this year, whether it's frustrations at work, lack of motivation or our personal lives getting the best of us. But, as 2017 rapidly approaches, it's up to you (and only you) to let go of negativity and show those pesky emotions who's boss!
Here are a few tips and tricks to climb out of that grimy rut life may have pushed you into, and gear up for a great year to come:
- MAINTAIN A ROUTINE: Consistency is key. When we stray away from what our mind and body is accustomed to, sometimes it triggers a "freak out" effect. Sure, the schedule shift that accompanies the holiday season might throw you off a bit. But, if you feel this taking a toll, set an alarm, wake up, read the paper (or maybe even try a mindless, therapeutic activity you don't usually have time for like, say, coloring?!) and jumpstart your day. Shower, get out of your pajamas, and go do something. It's easy to put yourself on house arrest just because you don't have anywhere to be. But take advantage of that and do stuff that you always think about wanting to do when you're too time-crunched to fit it in! Go for a bike ride, take a long walk or volunteer. Figure out how to keep your mind occupied, so at the end of the day you feel accomplished rather than lazy.
- WIN THE FOOD WAR: The holidays are notorious for indulgence and eating anything/everything in sight. This can be dangerous, especially if you have been eating clean. Don't deprive yourself, for starters. Let yourself enjoy the holiday goodies! But if you overdo it, your body will react negatively, and you won't feel like yourself. It is part of the reason so many New Years resolutions fail...we allow ourselves to get gluttonous and then set unrealistic goals because we feel guilty for it. Just enjoy in moderation.
- PLAY CATCH UP AND ENJOY: You know all those things you've been wanting to do and can't find the time/energy for? All the people you want to reach out to or see, but by the time you remember it's too late to call them up? Take advantage of the downtime! Start by making a list, and then work your way through it. As people who are used to being busy, downtime can actually be the opposite of relaxing...so when you feel yourself start to twiddle your thumbs, take a look at that list and tackle. Figure out what seems like fun and do it!
- MAKE EARLY RESOLUTIONS: Instead of waiting until January 1, when you are likely hung over as f*ck and hating the fact that you have to return to your "9 to 5" tomorrow, feeling imbalanced and distraught, start thinking about (and, again, writing down) your resolutions NOW. That way ringing in 2017 won't simultaneously feel like you're being hit by a ton of bricks. The majority of resolutions fail because they are both unrealistic (you are awesome, but don't expect to change everything overnight -- be truthful with yourself and what you know you're capable of), and also because we make them when we aren't feeling totally amped on life. So start thinking about what you would like to do to make yourself happier and healthier sooner than later, that way you've prepared your mind for what's to come and can gear up for the challenge.
- TRY SOMETHING NEW: Start knitting, buy some watercolors and paint custom "thank you" cards for the holiday gifts you're about to receive, MAKE some holiday gifts for people you like but typically wouldn't buy presents for, or sign up for a class you never thought about taking. I just signed up for martial arts! Something I literally never even considered doing, but an experienced friend explained the benefits and I couldn't be more amped about it. Read a book, write a poem, do WHATEVER! Just try something new. You'll feel revitalized...even if you don't like it, there's something to be said about doing stuff you haven't done before.
- DON'T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT TAKING DOWNTIME: Fellow busy-bees...now is the time to CHILL. You very rarely get a chance to do "go offline", so seize the day. It might feel weird to wake up to an empty inbox, something that should release a sigh of relief but instead induces anxiety. We all deserve a break, so don't let it psych you out that you aren't scrambling from task to task for once. Look around, flip off your "work mode" switch, and enjoy this time instead of stressing. Because you will have to go back to the daily madness soon enough...and you've worked hard all year. Take a breather.
Happy holidays and keep on keepin' on!