It is only December 27th, yet I am beginning to feel that sadness I usually feel after the Holidays—that sense of loneliness. I dread taking down my decorations. And the thought of no more Hallmark Christmas movies until July makes me want to cry, seriously. So if you feel any of this, know we have covered you. Here are five things you can do to feel better and beat the post-Holiday Blues.
Although it is temporary, the Post Holiday Blues is a real thing. There is that sense of missing, anxiousness, loneliness, sadness, et cetera as we prepare to get back to life as usual. And who can blame us after the whirlwind of the Holiday cheer of fun, overwhelm, hustle, and bustle we experience?
But what is Post Holiday Blues?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes the holiday blues as anxiety and stress that come up around the holidays and may be due to unrealistic expectations or memories connected to the holiday season. Approximately sixty-four percent of people reported experiencing the Holiday Blues, according to a 2015 survey.
So what causes those Post Holidays Blues?
We experience Post Holiday Blues because of many reasons. From overindulging in the richness of Holiday foods [not eating well], lack of sleep, financial strains, grieving the loss of a loved one, overconsumption of alcohol, the loss of a relationship, loneliness, et cetera.
Can we prevent Post Holiday Blues?
The excellent news is that we can prevent Post Holiday Blues—not completely [well, that has been my experience], but you can minimize the emotional whirlwind. I have experienced Post Holiday Blues for as long as I can remember. The Holidays are my favorite time of the year, and when it ends, I feel like I am left with not much to look forward to.
I finally did something about it last year—I had lost my dear dad earlier in the year, and as October approached, I started feeling extreme sadness and anxiety. I knew it would likely get worse as the months progressed, especially when the Holidays ended. So I decided to put together a plan to make myself feel better before I felt worse.
Planning was the key to feeling the best I have ever felt during the Holidays—I was grieving and struggling with my personal life. I felt all these emotions and knew I would eventually experience Post Holiday Blues. So I planned a lot of downtimes [I knew I needed that]—I said NO to several invitations and spent time alone doing things that relaxed me. Things like reading, watching Christmas movies, and journaling. I took time to create meals at home, and I intentionally spent time with my family. And although I caught Covid-19 in December, I felt less stressed, overwhelmed, and sad.
Here is how to cope if you are experiencing Post Holidays Blues.
Understand why you feel the way you do.
Although the feelings of Post Holiday Blues may feel like they are here to stay, know that they will subside, and you will eventually feel better. Remember, planning is critical. Preparing for the feelings and experiences is best by taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Did you have expectations during the Holidays that did not work out the way you imagined? Ask questions and dig deeper.
I have read that we must look to the past to move forward. And while the past was an essential part of bringing us to where we are now. Therefore, we must do our absolute best not to give thought to the past obsessively but instead embrace the present and look toward the possibilities of the future. Become excited about your next adventure.
And that may look different to each of us. For example, looking toward the future for me, maybe my Thursday Starbucks visits, visiting a new Italian restaurant the first week of the New Year, or all of the beautiful plans I have for this site in the first quarter of 2023. While for you, it may be looking forward to that new job or volunteering at that homeless shelter.
So appreciate the present and relish in the beautiful possibilities of the future. Give yourself things to look forward to—they can be as small or as large as you would like.
Take time Reflect and begin setting Intentions for the new year.
I no longer set New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, setting intentions makes me feel better and keeps me evolving into the best of myself. So, reflect on this past year—what lessons have you learned? What are the things that you would like to change and do differently than you did this past year?
Think about what you would like 2023 to look like for you—do not think about what your family wants it to be or what society expects it to be. You are the ONLY one who matters here. If you are working on healing your mind and body, then what does the best and highest version of you look like?
Reflection is about exploring and examining yourself and your experiences—it allows us to sort through the chaos. It provides us with the clarity and insights necessary to move forward. At the same time, intentions will enable you to live your lives actively. It is who you want to be in a specific moment and how you want to live and show up in your life and our world. It allows you to take accountability and responsibility for your lives.
Living with intentions makes us creators and active participants in our lives. We become more present within ourselves.
Create a Self-Care Strategy
Practicing Self-care well takes having a strategy in place. And it is not a one size fits all kind of thing. Knowing what you need at any time in your day requires being aware—listening to what you need emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Then, eat well, set boundaries, get enough sleep, drink water, move your body intentionally every day, and have nourishing and supportive people around you. Why not get a facial, write in your journal, et cetera? Do whatever makes you feel your best, but you must make sure all bases are covered. For a long time, I confused self-care with self-maintenance.
Begin to move your body now.
Many people will wait until the New Year to begin a workout routine, but why wait? Start now, or if you had a routine before the Holidays, get back to it. And if you have not worked out in a long time, do like I have. I started with ten minutes and felt great, then gradually increased the time. Remember, 10 minutes is all you need to get those endorphins going.
I am putting together the best apps and online resources to get you moving. I can not wait to publish it.
Practice being in Nature
Since moving to this country, I have disliked being outdoors—I have developed more allergies than I can count. Where I grew up, I spent a lot of time in nature—I loved climbing trees, walking without shoes in the grass, and feeling the dirt between my fingers. But for many years, I avoided being outdoors as much as possible, including the sun.
Since I began working on becoming a better me, I started to remember the things I enjoyed well into my late teens. The thing that made me feel my best and some of those things involved being outdoors in nature. Nature provides a lot of benefits for our well-being—it reduces anxiety, depression, and stress. It makes us happier, gives us clarity, and boosts our awareness. An early morning or late evening walk or perhaps sunbathing for ten minutes in the morning will make you feel so good.
Make your home a place you want to be.
After removing all of my Christmas decorations, I need to make my home the place I want to be. Since I have cleaned and organized before the Holidays, there is no clutter or disorganization, so for me, this means setting up a cozy reading nook, getting the island built for my kitchen, purchasing a new standing desk for my flex room so that I can finally stop working from my bed. And a few other things like swapping out my throw pillows, styling my mantle, et cetera.
For you, this may mean decluttering and getting organized, lighting a fabulous candle every day when you get home, or styling your coffee table. The list is endless—consider what you need to make you feel comfortable and your best at home.
Create a schedule that provides a nice balance in your day-to-day living.
I have been working on finding the best work schedule for myself. And taking one to two hours every few days to play out scenarios has helped. It has given me something to look forward to. I want to work six-hour days while increasing my potential to earn more, have time with my family, explore New York City, develop a meditation practice, do fun things and create more.
Maybe you would like to finally quit your job and give your side business your full attention. Or perhaps you would like to carve out an extra hour to work out every day or develop your meditation practice.
I am not much of a television-watching person, but nothing warms my heart more than watching something that makes me laugh. So I watch reruns of Fraiser, Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, et cetera. I can laugh without investing much time in watching something new.
Try on different things to see what works, or adjust these tips to work for you.
Planning is the best way to combat those Post Holiday Blues. But knowing how you feel during each season is also essential. For example, some people get depressed during the colder months. I feel energized and invigorated during the colder months and get depressed during the Summer months, so I work with it, not fight against it. I make an effort to do things that make me feel good during the Summer—I get enough rest, move my body [indoors] and take care of myself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Comment below and tell us if you have ever experienced Post Holiday Blues, and offer us a few tips that have helped you.