You might have heard of “runner’s high”. You feel great when it happens because your body releases endorphins when you work out. ‘Endorphin’ is short for endogenous morphine; it’s made by your body, so you feel good during your workout, and even glow for a short while after. The trick is to work that body. Too hot, you say? Plenty of treadmills in the gym. Endorphin is thought to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality. More recent research suggests that the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system and its production of anandamide also plays a part in your workout mood-boost by regulating homeostasis, or keeping our mind and body in equilibrium
#2 Make headspace for being sociable.
How? By making time to do your own thing amid the rush to make merry with everybody while the holidays last. You’ll be more up for a mix and mingle when your mind and body are at ease. This means chucking out excess mental and emotional baggage, like doing a KonMari on overthinking and busy-ness. Guess what? Sitting still releases anandamide into your bloodstream, too (see, #1). There’s a range of Fitness First Mind and Body classes that can help you do this.
#3 Make every day like a holiday.
Remember, relaxation isn’t exclusive to the holidays. In fact, working days can be less stressful than vacations, when we’re all scrambling to max out our ‘downtime’ and tick off bucket lists on Instagram. The allure of flying away lies in the possibilities presented by having your own time to do the things you look forward to. To-do list too long? Schedule it; make time for work. Then play. Even if you have time for only one hot java in that new cafe with the interesting barista, it’s the relaxing thought that counts!
# Bonus tip: Volunteer your time.
When you become well-organised (see, #2), share those relaxing thoughts and make life just a little more gracious for everyone. Leave a nice review of that cafe on social media. When we volunteer our time and energy in large or small steps, life loves us back, and our own everyday existence becomes more meaningful.