You did it! You managed to get through the holidays, to buy and wrap all those gifts, to bake those cookies and get through all those family get-togethers. You decorated, sent Christmas cards and either cooked festive meals or attended festive dinners.

And now … do you hear it? The sound of silence. Calm. Tranquility. Oh, and a few things more … sadness. Boredom. Emptiness. Depression. It's the sound of the inevitable Post-Holiday Blues. It seems to be a paradox. During November and December, we are so busy, we long for a quiet moment, one in which we can relax. And now that we have that in quantity, we can't enjoy it. Once we accomplish the dreaded task of "un-decorating" and tuck all those festive decorations back into their boxes and storage places, we seem to be at a loss. Compound this with the cold, dark, snowy weather and your Post-Holiday Blues have grown into a full blown case of the Winter Blues.

So, what can you do to turn this around? Here are a few ideas to help you chip away at this seasonal malady.

Clean. Yes, I said "clean." It sounds counter-intuitive since cleaning is work. However, the act of cleaning can make you feel better about your surroundings. Clutter in your home space can lead to stress. Your home, your castle, should be a place where you feel safe and relaxed. If this castle is messy, it defeats the purpose of having one.

So clean, but make it fun. No, I have not had too much eggnog! January is a great time to de-clutter your home and create some good habits along the way. The results will help you feel better about your surroundings.

But fun? Not yet. But just add music. It's as simple as that. Music is an integral part of my life and I like to consider myself an upbeat person. There is usually a song running through my head. I married a musician and have always loved music. So if there is a chore that awaits, there is also an MP3 player cranking up the tunes.

Music has almost magical powers, not just to clean by, but in general. You can add it to any task or even use it just to improve your mood. Pick music that speaks to you, whether it be classical, rap, rock or country. If it has a beat, move your feet! Music helps promote movement, which in turn can be classified as the "e" word. You know, exercise! And exercise helps pull you out of whatever funk into which you may have fallen. As you know, exercise releases endorphins in your body and ultimately helps trigger positive feelings of euphoria.

Music can relax your tense muscles, in any situation. It can actually take you places, if you close your eyes and just listen. Songs can trigger vivid memories of your childhood or early adulthood and can take you to a time when you were happy and carefree. So let it.

It has been shown that upbeat and "happy" music can take your mind off your stress and put you in a much better mood. It can help you to feel more optimistic and positive. In my mind, it is the clear ingredient in your recipe for a happier mindset.

If it is relaxation you seek, music can help get your brain into a meditative state. On a snowy winter's day, a mellow tune can help you to close your eyes, imagine a beautiful beach and almost feel the sunshine on your shoulders. Almost.

Terry Alburger is the fitness instructor at Brittany Pointe Estates, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Lansdale. Send thoughts to

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