Sometimes the term “holiday cheer” can be an oxymoron. After all, who is cheerful when there are way more things to get done than time to do them?  There are cookies to bake, trees to decorate. Cards to address, and always a mess. Presents to buy, things gone array. Family to host, turkeys to roast. Lots to do, resources few. You get the picture.

Here are my ideas to remove the blues and welcome that inner Ho Ho Ho Fullness into your holiday.

Work out early. Even if you’re like me and not fond of jogs in darkness and 20 degree weather, especially when it’s cold inside too, and those warm covers are particularly inviting. The early morning workout helps ensure you get the job done amid your crazy, busy holiday schedule. Not to mention, you’ll feel better throughout the entire day. (And there are plenty of indoor workout alternatives, too!)

Don’t load up on sugar. This may be tempting to do if you are baking for others, receiving sweet treats from friends and observing mounds of fudge in the break room at work. Do your best to partake sparingly. Those sugar highs and lows can wreak havoc on your mood!

Pass on the appies. Especially the super fattening ones that are almost always served at holiday parties. If you’re not careful, you’ll load up and fill up on fat and calories, leaving your body deprived of much needed nutrients to fuel your hectic days. If you do sample those pre-meal treats, choose ones rich in vegetables, light on cream and cheese. Safe selections include hummus, bruschetta, tomato/mozzarella and other salads.

Say no (to that last glass of wine or champagne). Instead, chug a bottle or cup of water (even two!). Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll be better hydrated to face the day ahead. Who needs a headache to accompany those holiday bells and whistles?

Ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything on your ‘to do’ list, ask a friend, significant other or child for a hand. Who said you had to do everything yourself anyway?

Close your eyes and breathe. Especially when you’re feeling stressed or depressed, sit down and meditate, even if it’s only for five minutes.  I’ve been having lots of success with guided meditations, like the ones found at Fragrant Heart, which are designed to address specific areas of your life that need attention.

Laugh. Nothing cures the blues like good old-fashioned laughter. So watch a funny flick, even if you have seen it five times already. Turn on Saturday Night Live, which is always hilarious during election season. Or watch a funny video, like this one about Tim Tebow.

Give thanks. It’s easy to have a “whoa is me” attitude around the holidays. And there are many who deserve to boast those sentiments all year! But now is an especially good time to focus on all the blessings we have in our lives, versus what we don’t have.

No one said it better than a friend from my home-town:

“Today I passed a group of people waiting for a bus in the cold; I am grateful for my warm safe car. I passed by more homeless than we should have in the land of plenty; I am grateful for my warm bed and a roof over my head. Today I filled up my grocery cart; I am grateful that I have food to eat. Today four good friends called me and I talked to my parents who I am still blessed to have. I got news of yet more animal neglect in Guilford County, and CNN reminded me of how many children have been abandoned, abused, and forgotten; I came home to someone who loves me just for me. That’s just today’s gratitude list.

My wish for Christmas: That we all remember what we have instead of what we don’t have, and that until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, we do not judge others.”

Image courtesy of Dazzle Junction.

About the author

Melinda is a marketer, researcher and writer. She also has a passion for healthy living, every day.