The holidays are over. Gifts have been opened, worn, used, or returned. You had time off of work and spent time with family and friends. So why are you feeling blue?
It’s not uncommon for there to be a letdown after the holidays. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that our expectations are often unreasonable. We’re so excited to see the family and we forget that they also drive us nuts. We compare our holiday (our decorations, gifts, etc.) with what we see others are doing and we often fall short. There’s always someone who went bigger, brighter, and more expensive. The question is not why we would feel blue; it’s really why wouldn’t we?
Some of the things that contribute to post-holiday blues are:
shorter days/less light
higher expectations, higher pressure, stress
getting less sleep, not eating as well, getting less exercise
comparisons: there’s always someone doing more, bigger, better
Much our stress comes from focusing on the external (things) when what we really want is an internal feeling and sense of meaning (love, connectedness, gratitude). So, what can be done? As you begin to return to a normal routine, try to get back to things that help create balance. Below are some strategies to help you accomplish this.
- Sleep and eat well. This is a key to feeling well.
- If you are able to, get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week.
- Focus on self-care (make time to read, meditate, journal, connect with close friends)
- Ask for help, and be specific
- Don’t be afraid to try something new to begin the year with a fresh start
- Volunteer. One of the best ways to help yourself is to help someone else.
- Send gratitude notes. Don’t forget to write one for yourself.
Don’t try to do everything on the list. Focus on a couple of things you can do this month to make a positive change. Feeling better tomorrow begins with what you do today.