01/14/2009 at 03:00 PM EST
After surviving the death of her former boyfriend and a battle with breast cancer
last year, Christina Applegate
has a new outlook for 2009.
"It's about finding happiness and joy, as if it were water and I was a person dying in a desert. You have to search for that," Applegate tells PEOPLE.
The actress, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role on ABC's Samantha Who?
, told PEOPLE at Sunday's awards ceremony that getting through last year wasn't easy: "You can't get any darker than I went."
But now that she's cancer-free, she plans to hit the ground running – literally. "I missed running so much," says Applegate, 37. "I'm looking forward to running more."
She'll also be spending more time with friends, like she did on Sunday when she and pal Eva Longoria Parker
spent the morning primping together.
"It was like a little party," she says. "It was fun."
Christina undergoes double mastectomy
1999: See Christina's 'Most Beautiful' spread!