From grocery shopping for Thanksgiving to waking up the morning after the New Year’s Eve celebration, the holiday season can be both joyous and overwhelming. For over a month, many people are deep in holiday planning, attending gatherings, spending time with loved ones, and likely spending copious amounts of money. Through this time, many people face a whirlwind of emotions, from joy to loneliness, which they never truly have time to process until after the new year arrives. After the ball has dropped, it is common to experience the post-holiday blues. Today, we will share what that looks like and how you can get out of this slump.
What are the Post-Holiday Blues?
The post-holiday blues refers to an often short period of time where individuals experience negative emotions after the holidays, including sadness, loneliness, fatigue, sluggishness, disappointment, dread, and mental distress. After all the cookie baking is complete, and the family heads home, it can leave people feeling rather empty, with nothing to look forward to or focus on. Add on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), brought on by the long, dark, and dreary winter months, and you can have quite the recipe for unhappy days. The combination often presents itself as sadness, lack of motivation, poor sleep, and irritability.
Fortunately, most people get out of this funk within a few days to a week after the holiday season is “over.” However, it is vital to recognize when it becomes something more serious. For example, suppose one’s post-holiday blues begin to impact their daily life for longer than two weeks, such as making it hard to go back to work or school, get out of bed in the morning, or accomplish small tasks that would generally be easy. In that case, it is time to check in with your healthcare provider.
How to Beat the Blues
Just because you experience post-holiday blues doesn’t mean you need to dive into them. There are a wide variety of fun activities to beat the blues and get you back into your regular, healthy routine. We recommend the following:
First, get plenty of sleep. Getting a good amount of sleep each night allows the body to reset, providing exponential benefits for both the mind and body.
Second, consume a balanced diet. The holidays are not known for healthy food choices, so now is the time to get back on track. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding excessive alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and drugs will help to combat negative emotions.
Third, get back to exercising. The holidays often throw people out of their regular exercise routine, so don’t delay getting back to it. We recommend a scheduled workout regime, going outdoors to play on nice days, and choosing physical activities to try with friends and family.
Fourth, stay connected. Even though you are likely peopled out from the holidays, staying connected with loved ones is important. Talk with your significant other about your feelings, play with your kids, schedule dates with friends, and remember to call your family.
Fifth, plan something fun to look forward to. The holidays are all-encompassing, but they can leave us feeling like we have nothing to look forward to. We recommend scheduling a fun activity in the next couple of weeks, whether a special date night, an overnight trip, or something new!
Remember, you are not alone if you can’t beat the blues. Please reach out to your primary care physician for recommendations on how to manage your feelings in a healthy, constructive manner.