What do you call this nebulous period between Thanksgiving and Christmas break? The December Slump? Vacation on ice? Finals? Whatever name you choose to give it, this in-between time between breaks always sends us into a funk. Post-turkey but pre-presents: these two weeks or so of early darkness, cramming for work/school, and general blah-ness can be a real killer if you don’t know how to deal. Here are our 5 simple steps for making your holiday limbo a little more cheery.
Exercise: I am a total hypocrite about this one, because my idea of a workout is riding my bike to the subway. But it’s been scientifically proven that hitting the gym will perk you up. Not only do you release endorphins while doing cardio and weight-training, but hauling your butt outside and making a schedule that you force yourself to stick to guarantees that all that food you’ll be cramming in your face during the holidays won’t go straight to your hips.
Cooking: This may sound counter-intuitive to our first suggestion, but making food at home actually saves you bloating in both your wallet and your waist. Believe us, nothing you can cook for yourself will have as many calories as McDonald’s, and with the cold weather and 4 p.m. twilight hour, you’ll feel better if you don’t have to leave your house to make the trek for food. Instead, turn your kitchen into a cozy little lab, where you can experiment with different dishes to surprise your family with when you finally make it home.
Arts and Crafts: Not only will you save money on presents if you hand-make your gifts, but they can be great time-wasters as well. (I got really into sticking cloves in oranges one winter, and ended up with a hundred of those potpourri balls). Don’t think we just mean knitting, either: Our editor Meghan says she spent one winter learning how to make flavored vodka…a gift we’re sure her friends appreciated.
Play Friend Catch-Up: We know, you just participated in National Unfriend Day. But now’s the time to reach out to those people who are actually mean something to you, even though time or distance may not allow you to see them very much. If you’ve been so busy studying you haven’t spent any time with some of your besties, now is the time to take 20 minutes and compose them a long email. No, don’t poke them on Facebook or shoot them a wall message…an email actually shows you made the effort to get in touch. Or ooh, even better? A phone call!
Get Over Your Netflix Guilt: This is a legitimate issue…you have a hundred movies on your queue, but never have time to watch anything. Well now that you’re just lying in bed being a lazy bum you might as well go through all those Almodovar films that you promised yourself to watch.