Do you find yourself feeling more pain after the holidays are over? More physical pain seems natural because of all the running around that we do with Christmas and New Years and the extra work that happens to make the holidays special. What about the post holiday blues? Do you find yourself feeling more mental pain when the holidays are over? More depression, or more Seasonal Sadness? How do you manage that and where is it coming from?
Some of it comes from the Holidays themselves. Often, we project what we want them to look like instead of accepting the reality of what they actually are for us. We want the perfect family around the perfect tree with perfect presents and everyone getting along in perfect harmony. What happens instead is the stress of buying, decorating, cooking and cleaning all while appeasing children, spouse and family members who may or may not be speaking to each other on the big day. No wonder you’re left with a huge let down after the New Year rolls in.
Financial stress plays a huge role as well, once those credit card bills start showing up in January. Even if you swore you wouldn’t have a credit card Christmas or Hanukkah, chances are you’re still looking at some expenses that you weren’t expecting, and now you need to do some budget adjusting. That’s enough to make anyone feel blue. And if you’re one of the many people who put your entire holiday shopping on your credit card, you’ll be feeling the hit even harder.
The weather also plays a huge part in how we feel in the New Year. Depending on where you live, you could be seeing sunshine and cold temperatures, mild temperatures and rain, or bitterly cold and snow, or any combination in between. The days are short and darkness prevails. Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder is a real condition that deeply alters the lives of more people than we realize. Getting out into the natural sunlight is the best remedy, but the alternate is to use a special lamp to get the light you need to function properly during the winter months.
How else can you combat these Post Holiday Blues? Here is a list of suggestions that might help:
Limit alcohol – Now that the holidays are over, start to limit your alcohol intake, and try not to keep it readily available around your house. Drink lots of water to flush your system and get back to good nutrition.
Get plenty of sleep – Try to go to bed at a specific time each night. Being well-rested can improve your mood and help you feel ready to take on the day.
Exercise regularly – Plug in your headphones and pop out for a walk around the block a couple of times a day. A quick 10-minute walk will get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins.
Learn to say “no” – Overscheduling and not making time for yourself can lead to emotional breakdowns. Learn how to say “no,” and stay firm on your decision.
Reflect on the Special Moments –
Grab a hot tea or hot chocolate, sit by the fireplace, and reflect on what you loved about this holiday season.
- What was the best conversation you had?
- What was the most thoughtful gift you received?
- What was the funniest thing that happened?
- What was one disaster that turned into a blessing or a great memory?
Try Something New – New Year, new hobbies! Make up your mind to try something new this year. Take a class, return to an old hobby, or pick up a new one.
Make a Budget – No one likes to dwell on financial stuff, but vow to make a budget this year and then stick to it. You’ll be amazed at how much stress relief this can offer you when you see exactly where you money is going and how much you can actually save every single month. Buy software for your computer to help you, download an app or get a book to make it easier.
Volunteer – If you can spare a bit of time each week or each month, consider doing some volunteer work in an area that interests you the most. From working with kids, seniors, or animals to helping with community arts and theatre, health organizations or your local Downtown Business Association, there are so many places that can use your help. Even just a couple of hours a month makes a difference when we all pitch in together.
Give Blood – Another way to help others, if you are physically able to donate blood, please consider giving. There’s nothing like being a Lifesaver to make you feel good!
Keep a Gratitude Journal – Each day, write down three things you are grateful for.
Can you come up with your own suggestions for this list to make it your own? If and when you do, share your ideas with your friends and in the comment section below. One thing I do want to remind you of is that if the Post Holiday Blues tend to linger on for longer than a month, you may want to speak to your doctor. You could be experiencing something more than just “Post Holiday Blues” and require proper medical care. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help if you feel dark thoughts or deep depression. There is help available and absolutely NO shame in asking for it. I live with Bipolar Disorder and have to be very careful during and after the holidays that my mania isn’t triggered because I would go on shopping binges.
There is always hope