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Finding Joy in the New Year

Woman running in snowAs the last of the bright twinkling lights, colorful wrapping paper and bows, and memories of joyous times with family and friends fade away in January, it can be a huge letdown. Though we’re now slowly gaining daylight in the upper Midwest and Canada, for many of us, it’s still short of what we might typically get outdoors in the summer months.

It’s still cold, often snowy, and we’re usually getting less exercise in addition to the lack of natural light. Physiologically, this affects all of us.

Though some of the winter doldrums are out of our control, we can combat them through various methods.

Instead of setting unrealistic resolutions for the new year, let this be the year you simply focus on finding what brings you joy—and make that happen in 2024.

Make Healthy Habits Fun

We can’t control the weather, the news, or even when those holiday bills appear, but we can make an effort to mentally and physically prepare for these moments and meet them with happiness. There are several ways to naturally increase your joy factor, even in January and on toward the first signs of spring.

Exercise: Keeping our bodies in motion is crucial to boosting our mood naturally. However, that doesn’t mean you need to adopt a three-hour-a-day cardio routine. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk on the treadmill, or better yet—outdoors—can do tremendous good in getting our endorphins moving and helping our bodies feel good.

If 30 minutes seems like too much of a commitment, start with 15. Picking a show you want to stream and using that as a bargaining chip with yourself can also help make the exercise something to look forward to each day instead of something you “have” to do.

Spend Time Outdoors: Find a way to fit in time outside in natural light by doing something you love. If you are a birder and have bird feeders, for example, bundle up and head outside to watch them from your deck for 15 minutes instead of from the couch. Maybe you love the lake. In winter, find a pal to walk the shore when it’s safe enough, or try ice fishing or ice skating.

If it’s hard to drum up the energy to get outside, download a book on tape you’ve wanted to read or a favorite podcast, and only “allow” yourself to listen if you’re moving your body outside.

Get Plenty of Sleep: Use the lack of light to your advantage! Being in bed before sunset in the beautiful summer months almost seems like a crime. As a result, many of us find ourselves burning the candle at both ends to the detriment of our sleep schedules.

By the time fall and winter arrive, our bodies are more than ready for a reset. Now is the time to build good sleep habits for 2024, getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Around that habit, build in other things you love to do for yourself. Maybe it’s lighting a scented candle as you snuggle in to read books waiting for you on your bedside table or investing in a new skincare routine you’ve wanted to try. Perhaps it’s as easy as watching an hour of a Netflix show you’ve wanted to see, just you and your spouse.

Think about what brings you happiness and can be another value-added part of going to bed at a reasonable hour, boosting the chances you’ll stick to your nighttime routine.

Eat More Nutritious Food: One of the reasons that resolutions don’t have staying power is that many of us take away the things we love in an effort to improve our lives. It takes great willpower, which is hard to come by when you’re already feeling down. If having pizza on Fridays brings you joy, don’t cut it out of your diet. Instead, add a healthy serving of vegetables or two with those weekly slices.

This overall goal is about adding something that’s more nutrient-dense to your diet rather than taking away what you enjoy and look forward to.

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Chiropractic is also a terrific way to help your body’s nervous system reset. It also helps with joint mobility and reduces pain and discomfort, helping you be more physically active, in turn further boosting your endorphins and the feeling of joy.

If you are feeling a bit down or like you need a boost, contact Envive to schedule an appointment!

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