Saturday, December 30, 2017

Life with Chronic Conditions: Beat the Post Holiday Blues

 The holidays can be a wonderful distraction from all sorts of things, but then the cold gray dawn of January 2 rolls around and the return to normal life can be a rude awakening in more ways than one. They don’t call it the “post holiday blues” for nothing.

Below are ways to wake up on January 2 feeling like it’s an opportunity and something to look forward to:

Forget New Year’s Resolutions and instead think about some things you’d like to do or work on in the coming year. Write them down.

  De clutter/reorganize as part of putting decorations away: As you take down the Christmas tree etc., use this as an opportunity to de clutter and reorganize. Chances are good that you have boxes of holiday stuff, that you only use a small portion of. Now’s the time to get rid of it or see if you can repurpose it. Check out The KonMari Method for Tidying When Affected by a Chronic Condition

• Create a special little nook to enjoy through the winter: You can string some of your holiday lights around a house plant or bring in some branches or even a small tree. If you live where there are birches, these look gorgeous strung with light. For lots of ideas, check out Take a Break: Create a Cozy Retreat

• Reduce connectivity: The constant checking of devices for e-mails, texts, news etc. is extremely wearing. Make a point of scheduling in device free time and being present. If you go out to dinner, ask everyone to leave their phones, laptops and other devices in the car. Recharge your phone in another room of the house where you can’t hear or see it and never in the bedroom. The constant connectivity reduces our cortisol levels and leads to more stress, anxiety and depression.

• Take a different approach to eating and exercise: Okay so you ate all sorts of things you shouldn’t have over the holidays and have spent countless hours in the easy chair watching football and have avoided anything that resembles exercise. Now is the time to “add” instead of being obsessed about eliminating. Add 5 minute walks or stretches after being sedentary for an hour.  Try new ways to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. Be patient as you tamper down from the holiday feeding frenzy. Check out Living with Chronic Disease: Take a Stand to Better Health

• Put some fun things on the calendar for January

• Identify things you can look forward to, such as the Winter Olympics in Feb.

• Learn something new: How much time you want to put into this is up to you, but think about something you’d really like to do well. In my case, I’ve decided I want to work on improving my skills using an Exacto knife. Check out Learn Something New.

• Notice that the days are getting longer: Following December 21, as the sunrise slowly arrives later over those 17 days, we add, at best, a mere minute of daylight to each day at sunset. By January 7, though, we're adding a full two minutes each day to the daylight hours --one at sunrise and one at sunset.

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