Post-holiday blues can sneak up on you, then leave you feeling down due to the holidays being over. Find out what they are and how to combat them in today's blog.
You just had the best holiday season ever. Christmas dinner was fantastic, and everyone loved your delicious meal. You found all the gifts your loved ones wanted. Your partner even found you the perfect gift. The surprised and excited looks on your kids' faces were priceless. Even New Year's Eve was relaxing.
Then, suddenly it was back to work and back to school for the children. The daily grind was back. The fun and joy of the holidays are now just memories, and the decorations have been taken down.
You feel a little empty inside.
What you're experiencing is called the post-holiday blues. We'll explain those negative feelings and what you can do about them.
What Exactly Are Post-Holiday Blues?
The post-holiday blues are usually nothing to worry about, and they are completely normal. After all of the busyness of the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's, you still experienced plenty of joy and happiness despite the hectic month. As you said goodbye to the cheery holiday season, you started to come down off of that high.
Think of the holidays as a shot of endorphins running through your body. It's go-time, and you've mastered holiday shopping, cooking, attending parties, and traveling to see distant friends or family. Once that frenetic activity suddenly stops, your brain and body don't have to run in overdrive anymore. Things suddenly stop, and your brain doesn't release as many feel-good hormones as it did during the holidays.
What Causes Post-Holiday Blues?
Psychology Today says temporary feelings of emptiness and loss set in because the anticipation, excitement, and fellowship of the season are done for now until next year. Feeling that sense of loss may lead to thinking about other times you felt loss in your life, which just pile on to what you already feel.
Sometimes the holiday season can stave off feelings associated with mental illness, like anxiety or depression, that interfere with your ordinary life. Giving a mind something else to focus on can present a distraction from feelings and challenges associated with a mental illness. When the holidays are done, someone may not want to face those feelings again.
What Are Signs of Post-Holiday Blues?
Verywell Mind points out a few signs someone may have post-holiday blues.
Watch out for:
• Excessive rumination
• Fear about the finances
• Worry about any weight gain
Again, all of these feelings are completely normal following the holidays. If they start to take more and more control of your life, then it might be time to take steps to combat the post-holiday blues before these feelings become part of everyday life.
How Do I Combat Post-Holiday Blues?
There are several things you can do to fight off post-holiday blues before it turns into something more serious.
Set Aside Some "Me" Time
Take some time out for yourself. Now that the hectic holidays are over find some "me" time to do something for pure enjoyment. Read a book, exercise, do a puzzle, binge-watch your favorite streaming show, or walk in nature. Do something that is purely indulgent for just you to bring back your smile.
Get more sunlight to fight off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which may have an underlying cause of less sunlight during winter months. If extra sunlight isn't possible, get a special lamp for your home that mimics sunlight. Getting outdoors does a body good, though, as spending time in nature reduces stress by elevating mood-boosting hormones in your body.
Maintain Healthy Eating
Eat healthy because food can affect your mood. You may have had too much fruitcake or sugar cookies during the holidays, but now it's time to get your body back to normal. Keep eating those fresh fruits and vegetables. If you need some extra motivation, try out some new recipes you've been putting off.
Look forward instead of backward. It's tempting to reminisce about the holidays that were so enjoyable and exciting. However, too much of that can increase your feelings of loss. Instead, look forward to the new year. Set some goals for you and your family. Make a list of New Year's resolutions and start working on them to improve your life.
Reconnect in Person
Reconnect with people you love or trust. This could be your BFF, your partner, a colleague, a sibling, or a relative. Rather than text or write an email, talk to your loved ones verbally, either in person, on the phone, or over video chat. Seeing that smiling face once again can lead to feelings of comfort and happiness that get pushed aside temporarily for the holidays. Nothing says friendship like connecting over coffee in the new year.
Sleep well. Getting more sleep can restore your health. Nighttime sleep is your body's way of healing, and a lack of it can cause many problems. Getting more sleep every night can help mitigate feelings of post-holiday blues.
Start the new year off right! Don't let the post-holiday blues bite. Here's to an exciting adventure into a fresh start for you and your family as you move into the following year, full of hope and promise.