Movement as Medicine for the Holiday Blues

Holiday blues can happen to anyone. If the current holiday doesn’t live up to memories of perfect holidays past, or if this year the kids are with their spouses’ families, things can feel less merry. Perhaps you are remembering family and friends who are no longer with you, or the increased stress of a longer “things to do” list is taking a toll. Holiday lights may not be enough to lift that dark mood.

Here’s where the mind-body connection comes to the rescue.

As John Ratey laid out in his book Spark, aerobic exercise works better and longer than anti-depressive meds in managing depression and with no negative side effects. Exercise, especially when done outdoors, increases levels of brain neurotransmitters and does wonders to make you feel better. Improving physical health improves mental health. That is great news.

Here’s another tip for the holiday blues: One of the best ways to increase your own happiness is to do things that make other people happy. Random Acts of Kindness, especially clustered into one day, make people happy according the Greater Good Science Center. Think of an elderly neighbor who needs their sidewalk shoveled or their dog walked when the weather outside is frightful. Think of taking your kids and a few of their buddies sledding so other parents can finish holiday tasks. You’ll help someone in need, get some mood-lifting exercise, and feel better in the balance. Everyone wins!

From our family to yours, may the holiday season and the coming year be filled with health and happiness.

 

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