Tips for beating the holiday blues

This article was written by CK Kemp and Amy Quinn, Ph.D. students the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The holidays are a fun time of celebration and meeting with loved ones. But they can also be times of remembrance, sadness, and stress. Depressive feelings and signs can pop up during the holidays because of this. Also, our bodies are finally able to relax from school and work during winter break, which means that signs of depression that were kept hidden during the semester are finally showing up. Here are some good strategies for self-care to lessen the holiday blues!holiday blues Take a break over winter break The holidays are often full of gatherings and events. It is easy to get swept away by dinner parties and gift exchanges, and miss out on meaningful rest and down-time. When planning the holiday calendar this year, try blocking out a few personal "dates" for a little R&R. It can be anything from taking the afternoon to read, getting a massage, or just catching up on sleep. Taking more time to rest makes people feel rejuvenated, and that way they can better enjoy time with friends and family. No date to the office party? No problem! If friends and family live far away, the holidays can feel lonely or isolating. For some people, alone time can exacerbate sad or depressive feelings. The holidays can be a great time to meet new people, as there are many events, shows, and celebrations throughout the holiday season. Decide to attend a party or gathering alone and meet at least one new person – other people are looking for new friends too! Adopt a kind state of mind Although there are lots of joyous aspects to the holiday season, it is also common for difficulties to arise such as missing loved ones, feeling stressed about money, or having conflict with visiting family members. In these moments, it can be easy to become self-critical or critical of others. It’s impossible to avoid negativity completely, but try working towards positivity by showing gratitude and being present during interactions. Check out Mindfully Managing Stress workshops at CSU, or look up gratitude practices online before the holidays begin! Eat well and exercise Let's face it - everyone tends to overindulge during the winter season. Just try and keep a balance of these indulgences. Counteract calories from holiday parties by planning workout days. Ate or drank too much at one party? Then try and limit sweets and drinks at the next. When looking at all of the delicious foods at a holiday event, fill the plate with veggies first and then just pick one or two desserts. To talk further about depression or depressive feelings, contact these great resources:

  •  Counseling Services at CSU: Room 123 in Aylesworth NW or call (970) 491-6053.
  • Center for Family and Couple Therapy at CSU: Call (970) 491-5991 to set up an appointment. CFCT is a part of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, in the College of Health and Human Sciences.
  •  In emergency situations never hesitate to call 911 or visit the emergency room.

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Novemburrr: 5 ways to stay warm while working out

The following article was written by Kimberly Burke, director of the Adult Fitness Program at CSU.novemburr 2 As another beautiful fall season unwinds there are some ways to take advantage of the fall without feeling the effects of the approaching winter. Many people transition to outdoor exercises over the summer months, and then slowly retreat back indoors. But exercising outdoors does not have to be hindered by cold weather. Here are a few simple ways to stay warm out in the cold. Always warm up It is important to avoid sudden exertion by going through a proper warm-up. In colder weather muscles will take longer to warm up, so warming up an extra 5-10 minutes is encouraged. Properly warmed muscles will help to prevent injury and enables longer exercise. It's OK to decrease intensity When temperatures drop the body responds by constricting its arteries to keep the core temperature higher. In doing so the heart has to work harder to pump blood through a narrower space, adding to the extra load created by exercising. So don't be surprised if running as long or hard in colder weather is difficult. Don’t worry; every workout does not have to be a marathon. Wear layers Easy removal and addition of clothing is key; aim for wearing layers that can be zipped/unzipped quickly. That way there’s no need to stop in the middle of a workout and it allows the body to better adjust to temperature changes. Always make sure to have a hat and scarf, because as much as 40 percent of body heat is lost through the head. Just as importantly, keep hands and feet properly covered to prevent heat loss. Pay attention to the forecast to not be caught in unexpected weather. Avoid alcoholic beverages Winter months can bring about some great brews and they're hard to pass up in Fort Collins, but it is best to avoid them prior to a workout. The initial sensation of warmth from drinking alcohol is from blood vessels on the skins surface dilating. This in turn causes warmth to be drawn away from vital organs, which during cold weather is not ideal. It is the complete opposite of the body's natural instincts and feedback responses. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen It is always important to stay hydrated, even when it is cold outside. It’s important to know that thirst doesn’t mean you’re dehydrated. Thirst is actually a delayed response to dehydration, and dehydration is often harder to catch in cold weather. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout. Don't forget the sunscreen; getting sunburned isn't just for the summer, especially since Fort Collins is nearly a mile high. Look for sunblock that provides UVA/UVB protection and keep those sunglasses handy. CSU's Adult Fitness Program offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students.

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