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With all of the family bonding, jam-packed schedules and expectations, it’s no wonder we may feel burnt out, exhausted and overwhelmed once the new year comes around. If we don’t properly cope with the feelings that emerged during the holidays, the emotions can linger and wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. That’s why setting aside “me” time after the long month of December is crucial for our health and wellbeing.

Once the holidays are over, the new year is all about the self. We let go of bad habits that no longer serve us. We set goals to improve our lives and strive to achieve them. So, what better way is there to kick off a new year and a new decade than by following self-care practices that will leave you feeling refreshed, refocused and recentered for the upcoming year. If you’re in need of a little TLC at the start of 2020, these tips and tricks will replace stress and anxiety with an abundance of peace and tranquility.

Record your thoughts

It might be tempting to push away tough emotions, such as grief and loneliness that the holiday often brings about, but avoiding these feelings can lead to long-term pain and psychological problems. Instead of bottling up all of your emotions, engage with them on paper. Writing down what you’re feeling is an excellent way to reflect on your emotions and identify what might be triggering them. Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper gets them out of your head, so you can have more mental space to enjoy the present. Spend time checking in with yourself to lighten your load and experience a mental release.

Break a sweat

Did your grandmother make a condescending comment about your career path during Christmas dinner? Release all that pent-up frustration in a heart-pumping dance cardio class like the ones found in the TA Online Studio. Moving your body and breaking a sweat feels so invigorating because it releases serotonin and dopamine, feel-good hormones that boost your mood, relieve stress, improve the quality of your sleep and increase concentration. Research shows that being active helps manage stress and anxiety just as effectively as antidepressants. Don’t have time to hit the gym? No worries. You can stream Tracy Anderson’s workouts anywhere, anytime starting with a 30-minute Beginner level class!

Soak up the sun

With shorter days and colder temperatures, the winter months make it difficult to spend time in the great outdoors. Instead of staying cooped up inside, ruminating on the critical remark your aunt made about your cherry cobbler, bundle up and get outside in the fresh air. Take a stroll around the neighborhood, shovel the driveway or sit on a park bench and take in your surroundings. Not only does nature give you a change of scenery and a fresh perspective, but it also calms your mind, increases feelings of happiness, alleviates tension and decreases blood pressure.

Practice meditating

Does looking at your bank account after the season of giving (and spending) make your heart sink? Take a deep breath in and let it go. When your thoughts and emotions start to get overwhelming, shift your attention to your breath. As we learned from Bob Roth in the latest installment of The PER4MANCE Program, being mindful of your breathing pattern decreases stress and burnout and floods your mind with a sense of relaxation and calm. Download a meditation app on your phone, find a guided meditation on YouTube or sit alone in a quiet room to experience pure serenity. You don’t need to spend all day inhaling and exhaling. Five to 10 minutes of meditating will set the tone of your day and keep you grounded in the present.

Express gratitude

It’s easy to feel down in the dumps after the holidays if you spent the season comparing your experience to ones you saw on social media, focusing on the family that wasn’t present or harping on the gifts you didn’t receive. When you find your mind going negative, recall all of the experiences, people and places in your life that you’re grateful for. Making gratitude a part of your daily routine will prime your brain to seek out the good in your days, so you’ll feel happier and develop a more optimistic outlook on life. Simply asking yourself what you’re thankful for causes a surge in dopamine and serotonin, and directing your attention to all your blessings wards off anxiety and depression. So, if you find yourself complaining about everything that went wrong over the holidays, make a mental note of everything that went right.