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How To Be Joyful (After Christmas)

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By Grant Stenzel, MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

How to be joyful

The holidays can be filled with stress, but finding moments of joy before and during the holiday season is fairly easy. Songs and treats fill our bodies with that special Christmas warmth, giving and receiving gifts is a happiness-producing exchange, and spending quality time with family is like food for the soul.1.

But after the holidays, finding joy can be a monumental struggle. January, February, and March gaslight us into thinking warm weather doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, the sun is content to hide behind clouds for the few hours that it’s beaming on our side of the planet.

And so, we struggle. We pick a few more fights, we gain a bit more weight, and we’re generally a bit less happy. I know it will happen to me again this year, but I plan on taking some of the tips shared below to keep more joy in my life while the weather tries to take it from me. I invite you to do the same.

1. Unplug

This is vital during any time of year, and it’s much easier said than done. Try devoting one day per week to an electronic fast. Maybe every Saturday during daylight hours, it’s no devices in your home. Or maybe you leave your phone in the sock drawer every Wednesday. The method you choose can vary, but the goal is the same: Use that unplugged time to recharge yourself and pursue the things that fill you up.

2. Sleep, eat, and exercise right.

I’m no doctor, but I will tell you my days are worlds better when I’m doing these three things. In my experience, getting the right amount of sleep is the easiest of these three to do. Eating and exercising tend to go hand in hand, so after you’re getting enough sleep, plan a diet and exercise regimen and let them feed off each other.

3. On the coldest days, embrace indoor activity and change.

A handful of days every year are so cold, frostbite attacks exposed skin in a matter of minutes. If you have young children, spend those days tiring them out with indoor play or letting their imaginations run wild inside elaborate pillow forts. I’ve always loved rearranging rooms and mixing up the feng shui, and that’s highly recommended as well. Give the same space a new feel.

4. Keep hanging with friends and family.

The holidays are the perfect reason to get together with loved ones. If it filled you up to be with them, I can guarantee they felt filled up, too. Why not keep pursuing it throughout the year? Send a few texts today to people you want to spend time with and make it happen soon. Community destroys the winter blues.

5. Escape!

If you have the means, use some of your vacation time during peak winter. Get out and go somewhere warm. If you can follow rules 1, 2, or 4 during the trip, you’ll feel that much more rejuvenated when you return home. And if you won’t be able to get away this year, grab a drink, a blanket, and cozy up with a light novel or some fun TV.

What did I miss? Let us know how you stay joyful during late winter at [email here]. And of course, if you need to talk to someone about seasonal affective disorder or any other mental health issue, we’re here and ready to help.



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