Surviving The Holiday Blues With Exercise
The holiday season can bring a tidal wave of different types of emotions. For some people, it’s the best time of the year and they enjoy every minute of it. For other people, they worry about the expense of buying gifts, but mostly they enjoy spending time with family and friends they might not normally see. Yet other people dread the holiday season because they feel there’s no way to escape it, both at work and home. They can’t stand hearing Christmas music playing on the loud speakers at the grocery store or pretending to be joyful when they just feel blah. These people are not clinically depressed, they just can’t wait until the holidays are over.
If you have a case of the holiday blues, you can help yourself feel much better by starting an exercise routine and moving your body every day.
Take 30 Minutes Per Day
There’s no better mood enhancer than working out. Exercise helps reduce anxiety and depression because it releases neurotransmitters and endorphins in the brain. It bolsters your immune system and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Any type of physical movement helps, whether it’s a full workout at the gym or a long walk at your local park. Depending on the exercise intensity level, it only takes about 10 to 30 minutes to get an endorphin release for most people.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal and walk briskly around your neighborhood. If the weather is too cold, you could use a workout tape at home and exercise in the comfort of your own living room. Even just 30 minutes a day will begin to create a change in your mood. If you’re not a morning person, then exercise after work or during your lunch hour. The time of day you choose to exercise isn’t as important as the consistency of doing it every day.
Keep Your Mind Occupied
One of the reasons people don’t enjoy the holidays is because they dwell on negative thoughts. Maybe they hate how commercialized the holidays have become or maybe the financial aspect of the holidays stresses them out. These repetitive thoughts get stuck in their head. The only way to get rid of them is to make a conscious decision to change. Exercise will take your mind off yourself. The negative thoughts will stop once you’re engaged in an activity that requires your full attention. An even better choice would be to participate in a sport that involves other people. Not only will your body get the physical benefits of exercise, but you’ll also get the emotional benefits that result from connecting to like-minded people.
Start Right Now
Don’t add “need to exercise” to your list of chores. It’s not something you should “plan” to do. It’s something you should start right now. Get up right away and start moving for the next 15 minutes. Take a spontaneous walk or turn on some music and start dancing in your living room. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose as long as you start moving now. Each time you exercise, you build up the momentum needed to keep going. The first step is always the hardest, so take that step now.
Remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and laughter, not sadness or indifference. For severe cases of depression, you should always see a good doctor who can help your individual situation. But if you feel a mild case of the blues, getting more exercise will help you get through the holidays. It’s the fastest and easiest way to change your mood. Who knows, if you get all those neurotransmitters and endorphins pumping, you might even start to feel less like Scrooge and more like Santa.
People image created by Ijeab - Freepik.com
- Outdoors Staff