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10 ways to beat the holiday blues

10 ways to beat the holiday blues

By Marcia Jedd

There's no getting around the holidays. The world slows down and everyone seems paired up or off with family and friends. If you feel the holiday blues creeping up on you — loneliness or the grass-is-always-greener blues — it's time for an antidote. Here's 10 sure-fire ways to feel upbeat:

1. Gratitude, honey. Nothing soothes your blues better than a deep feeling of gratitude. Put on soft instrumental music. Sit down, count your blessings and meditate. What do you have to be grateful for? Journaling is optional. Repeat as necessary.

2. Spa time. From a simple manicure, a pedicure with foot massage, to a full-on day at the spa, treat yourself. Schedule one of those new hot-stone massages or a deep-muscle massage. Experience the tingling of a light chemical peel or other facial.

3. Volunteer. Giving your time to others and being of service is a great way to feel valued. It could be reading to children at a day-care center, volunteering at a hospital or working at a soup kitchen during this trying time for the homeless or destitute. You'll lose your own blues when you find enough overflow to give to others in a meaningful way.
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4. Bake. Forgot how much you loved those ginger snaps your mom used to make? Craving chocolate chip cookies? Cooking and baking puts your mind on the flavorful task at hand. Share your bounty with a neighbor or friend and you'll find it comes back to you in other ways.

5. Plan a party. Get some friends together and plan a theme party. Consider a single-mingle night where an equal number of invited males and females each invite a specific number of the opposite sex. It's never to late for a procrastinator's holiday party, such as hosting a white-elephant gift exchange after December 25. Or, casually have a few friends over, spur of the moment.

6. Cultural events. Want to see that traveling Impressionist exhibit at the art museum? What about that offbeat gallery in uptown? Plan an afternoon around it with a like-minded friend or relative. Or, take off by yourself: You never know who you could meet.

7. Take in a movie. Grab a friend and attend a matinee, go to a flick yourself (it's good for you) or simply rent a movie. You'll forget your funk after a light romantic comedy, thriller or even a tear jerker.

8. Stay moving. Get a zip of mood-enhancing endorphins with vigorous or even light exercise. Try dance, yoga, tai chi or a good workout at the gym. Many fitness clubs and yoga centers offer free sampler classes. Try a new activity and you may find a new sport for yourself.

9. Change your routine. Chase holiday blues by delving outside your comfort zone. If you are shy, go to a local coffee shop and read a book by yourself. Always drive to the video or grocery store? Try walking. Meeting friends at a local bar or nightclub? Go early and hobnob.

10. Find a date. Speaking of breaking out of your comfort zone, it may be time to start dating again. Try an online search to find suitable singles in your city. The holidays are a great time to take out a clever ad and get a jump on the New Year.

Marcia Jedd is a freelance writer based in the Midwest.
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