Celebrating the Holidays and Overcoming the Winter Blues

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The holidays are often thought of as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, there are also many people who suffer from seasonal depression, or get the “holiday blues.” If you struggle to feel happy or motivated this season, try lifting your mood and looking for the joy of the season by:

Engaging in Exercise
Exercise is always an essential tool in the fight against depression and other mood disorders. Regular exercise leads to less anxiety and stress, which in turn relieves symptoms of seasonal depression. If you have trouble finding time to exercise between holiday parties, events, and trips, find a way to incorporate exercise into the holiday plans that you have with your family and friends. Depending on the weather, you could plan family walks, runs, games, snowball fights, or other activities that will get your blood moving while bringing you and your loved ones closer together.

Seeking Out Sunlight
Sunlight cheers you up and gives you more energy, so the more often you are in it, the less of a problem seasonal depression will be. Of course, you can’t control when the sun is shining, but you can position yourself to make the most of sunny days when they do occur. Start by opening your blinds and sitting closer to them. It also helps to spend more time outside; even if it’s cloudy, the outdoor light will help.

Put Flowers in Your Home
According to Harvard research, flowers not only add to the beauty of a garden or room – they are able to improve mental health, especially in the morning. Gazing upon (or taking in the scent of) a vase filled with freshly cut flowers can help lessen anxiety, increase happiness levels and even boost energy. So, try picking or buying a fresh bouquet or two to place inside of your home.

Find New Ways to Celebrate
Holiday parties and celebrations offer a chance to spend time with friends and family. If you find yourself missing a loved one during your holiday traditions, you could try starting new traditions to create new happy memories. You could also find a way to honor your loved one by sharing your favorite stories and memories this holiday season.

Consider Charity Work
Getting out of the house, socializing with others, and contributing to a cause are all powerful ways to lift your mood. By volunteering, you’ll be doing all of these things at the same time. Look for opportunities to help at local soup kitchens, food pantries, and community centers. You’ll find that helping others and helping yourself are one and the same.

Consulting A Counselor
Although following these tips can help lift your mood, there is no substitute for professional psychological care. Whether you’re suffering from seasonal depression, anxiety, or any serious case of holiday blues, you should reach out to talk with someone, whether a family member, friend, or professional counselor. Talking about your thoughts and feelings often helps you to feel better.

The Cypress of Charlotte strives to keep all of its residents healthy and happy no matter the season. For more information about community events, holiday tips, or to talk with someone further, visit our website today.

Internet Intel: Your Guide to Online Shopping During the Holidays

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If you’re swamped finding holiday gifts, online shopping may seem like a dream come true. Buying online is quicker and more convenient, but it also carries a number of risks. To make the most of your online purchases, remember to…

Begin With A Budget
Even if you have money to spare, you should still set aside a specific amount to spend. A budget will protect you from a myriad of online shopping pitfalls, including:

  • Dubious Discounts – Online retailers often promote items as being “on sale,” but the “discounted” price is more than the ordinary price at other stores.
  • Contrived Connections – Many websites will show you a “people who bought this also bought…” list after each purchase. Without a clear sense of how much you’re willing to spend, you may fall down this rabbit hole and buy unnecessary items.
  • Meaningless Markups – Retailers often justify above-average prices by claiming that their products have superior feature. While this can be valid, it’s important to investigate the true value of those features before you pay a premium.



Don’t Give Out Data
Never trust a website that asks for your social security number, date of birth, or other personal information. No one needs this to complete a purchase, so if a store asks for it, it’s likely trying to steal from you. Regardless of the “great holiday deals” that store claims to offer, steer clear.

Be Vigilant of Viruses
An ounce of prevention outweighs a pound of cure, and this is especially true for computer viruses. The chaos of the holidays makes it easy to download viruses undetected. Keep your anti-virus software up to date, and stick to sites with recognizable brand names. The more obscure a website is, the more likely it is to harbor malware.

Appraise Your Accounts
Always end a day of shopping by checking your bank statements, credit cards, and other financial records. Look out for charges that you don’t remember authorizing or that are more expensive than you remember. If you see anything unusual, call your bank immediately; the sooner they’re aware, the easier it will be for them to cancel the charge and save your money.

Save On Shipping
Many sites offer free shipping if you purchase more than a certain amount. Consider this when deciding where to buy your desired gifts. Spending a little more to buy everything from one site may more than pay for itself if shipping is free.

Online shopping has its risks, but with the right guidance, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. The Cypress of Charlotte is committed to providing that guidance, helping our residents to live a fun, active, and safe lifestyle. To learn more about the Cypress community, visit our website or contact us today.