With the holiday season in full swing, we thought we would dedicate this last blog of the year to some good advice on how to enjoy the last month of 2016. We found (and credit) Health.com for the following ideas that we hope will leave you merry and bright well into 2017.
Hike your mood with sunlight
It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of Americans every year. To ease SAD symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days, or ask your doc about phototherapy (a treatment using a box that emits full-spectrum light).
Take a whiff of citrus
Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.
Savor a spicy meal
Hot foods trigger the release of endorphins—the natural chemicals that trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being.
Walk away from worries
The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep.
The fleshy place between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body. So if you start to feel overwhelmed by the holiday chaos, give your hand a squeeze and take a deep breathe.
Do less, enjoy more
We go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event. Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once—and maybe more.
Stick with your daily routine
Prioritize your workouts, book club, etc., and don't try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle
Don't neglect whatever cracks you up
Laughing like crazy reduces stress hormones. That, in turn, helps immune cells function better, says psychologist Steve Wilson, founder of the World Laughter Tour, an organization that offers therapeutic-laughter training.
Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life. Don't sweat the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable!
Get out of the house
If your family members often pick on one another at the holiday table, taking the fun out of meals, consider eating family brunches or dinners in restaurants. Being in public discourages loud voices and bad behavior.
And our favorite … Go tech-free
Constant cell phone buzzes and email alerts keep us in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Not only is this exhausting, but it contributes to mounting stress levels, especially in women. What better time to turn your gadgets off than during a holiday get-together? Enjoy spending time with your family and friends without worry.