So much energy and anticipation is involved in the holidays that it is not unusual to experience a small letdown after the celebrations are over. There are ways, however, to move into the new year with a clear conscious and a fresh outlook. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite remedies for beating the post-holiday blues.
- Give yourself time to relax and recuperate. Sometimes it can be helpful to set aside time during the day that is devoted to nothing but your own mental health. Taking a short walk, spending a few minutes reflecting on positive memories, or simply closing your eyes and collecting your thoughts are all activities that can facilitate a sense of calm and peacefulness.
- Take time to reflect on and review the holidays. As mentioned before, the holidays can often be a blur, so taking a few moments to review what you are truly thankful for can be a helpful way of gaining some closure on the past year and moving on to a new one.
- Don’t dwell on what went wrong during the holidays. No holiday season will be flawless, and if you are expecting perfection, chances are you will be disappointed. I encourage people to try to take things like a lopsided Christmas tree, a burned turkey or a dropped plate full of food in stride and realize that these are the memories that will probably stick with us, whether we like it or not. So, oftentimes our best option is to try to practice resilience and flexibility and make the most out of whatever situation has occurred while moving forward.
- Try to get back on a regular schedule. So often during the holidays we change what we eat, how much we sleep, and our regular daily schedule. Getting back into a normal routine can be comforting and help to ease some of the tension and uncertainty that comes from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
- If you make a New Year’s resolution, don’t worry too much if you have a setback. Most people fail to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. If there are things you would like to change about your day-to-day life, remember that these will take time. It is acceptable to go slow and start small. Lifestyle changes are major adjustments, and taking a long-term view on implementing these choices can help relieve some of the pressure we often place on ourselves to make changes too quickly.
The American Psychological Association also has a number of helpful resources that can provide more information on these topics. There is information on ways to manage depression, tips for healthy stress management, and how to tell if your holiday blues might be something more serious, like depression.
Photo by mewall82 (via Flickr)