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9 Ways to Lift Your Spirits During the Holidays

The stereotype of the holidays is that they are supposed to be filled with happiness, enjoying quality time spent with friends and loved ones, indulging in delicious food and giving and receiving lots of great gifts. In reality, it can be a stressful or unhappy time for many. If you happen to be experiencing some of the holiday blues or are feeling a bit stressed about this time of year, here are some ways you can lift your spirits during the holidays.

1. Give the gift of your time – Giving to others can be an effective way to feel happy, and giving of your time and/or skills can be the most rewarding. You might, for example, volunteer at a soup kitchen, drop off food at a local food bank or send care packages to soldiers in the military. If you love animals, volunteer at the animal shelter or donate food.

2. Participate in a toy drive – Participate in one of the toys for children programs available in your area. This is a great way to help a child who is underprivileged or whose family is struggling financially receive a holiday gift or gifts.

3. Treat a good friend to a meal – Take someone whose company you enjoy out to lunch or dinner—especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. You’ll not only feel good about treating them to a meal, but you’ll get the added joy of having fun and spending quality time with a friend.

4. Get plenty of rest – Too many of us let our day-to-day lives get in the way of our sleep. It can be even more of a challenge during the holidays. Making sure you get an adequate amount of quality sleep can make a huge difference in improving or maintaining your mood.

5. Visit the elderly – Check with a local nursing home to see if it would be okay to give each resident a token holiday-themed gift or baked treat. If you’re allowed to, personally deliver each gift and visit with any residents who seem like they could use a little bit of social time. They’ll be happy to have a visitor, and you’ll feel good about helping make someone’s day a little brighter.

6. Get physical – Follow an exercise video, go for a walk or run, ride a stationary bike or clean the house from top to bottom. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that will brighten your mood and reinvigorate you.

7. Take a yoga class and/or meditate – Practicing yoga can be a great low-impact way to increase your flexibility, increase muscle strength and tone and improve your breathing, but it can also have significant benefits in reducing stress and improving your mental well-being. Taking time to meditate can also help reduce stress by making you clear your head, concentrate on your breathing and focus on being present.

8. Make a list of people and things you are thankful for – Write down the names of people you are grateful to have in your life and all things you are thankful for. By focusing on your blessings, you can put yourself in a position to appreciate and enjoy what you have, helping you feel more fulfilled.

9. Learn something new – Pick a subject that you know very little about or a skill you would like to have and start researching. You could learn a new software program, learn to play an instrument, practice basic carpentry, fix minor issues on your car, take dance lessons, learn to knit…the list is endless. You can even learn many things for free on YouTube. Learning keeps your mind sharp, boosts your mood and gives you a sense of accomplishment.


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