Well, the holidays are over. All that time of speeding around trying to get everything done, and now it’s over. The presents are all exchanged The tree is down and all the decorations are put away. It’s good, right?
Then why do you have an empty feeling inside? Why are you feeling a sad sense of loss; an uneasiness? You were so excited to see the new year in; but now you find yourself at loose ends. Why are you feeling so sad? There is a very good chance you might be suffering from the post holiday blues.
You may be surprised to find that you are not alone. To you it may seem like everyone else is happily dancing in to the new year, full of plans for how to make this year the best ever; but some studies show that 25% of us suffer from post holiday blues. I’m guessing that it could be even higher; because there may be some people who suffer silently through it. Trudging through January and February until March promises spring, green grass, flowers and sunshine.
What are some causes of the post holiday blues?
The let down, after riding high on Christmas.
Everything was so busy, so full of anticipation. You were bustling here and there,
trying to get everything done. Even after Christmas, there were preparations for
New Years. And there was the house cleaning to be done after Christmas trashed
your brightly decorated home.
Then the New Year bash, and more trash? The cleaning again. Oh, and are you
sure you returned all the presents? And maybe you better hit the Christmas
sales to get a head start on next year.
And then you are done, finally, time to relax, right? But you can’t relax. You
feel empty, anxious and sad. You have the post holiday blues.
The realization that the perfect holiday we planned
turned out less than perfect.
You started out the Christmas season determined that this would be
the best Christmas ever. You tried to pick gifts that you just knew
each person would be delighted with. You gather their lists and try
to make sure you get the most important gifts for your loved ones.
Even though you thought you were ahead of the game, you find
yourself in a crunch at the last minute. It’s Christmas eve. Tomorrow
is the day. All of a sudden you remember, you forgot to buy a gift
for Aunt Mabel. You still have so many gifts to wrap and you were
going to do that early; but now you need to run out after Aunt Mabel’s
gift and snacks for Christmas day.
You run out to the store, fighting the Christmas crowds again. You
have to park clear at the other end of the parking lot. Of course!
Anything to take longer, right? You manage to get your gift and
a cart load of snacks and drinks for Christmas day.
You trudge back out to the other end of the parking lot through the
snow that started while you were in the store, and now blanketed the
parking lot and your car windows. Groan. Now where did you
put that window scraper this time?
You manage to get back home safely, through the slippery, newly fallen
snow. After unpacking, you set yourself toward the task of wrapping the
rest of the gifts. Now where is the tape? Kids?
Finally you are done. Why do you feel so exhausted? You look at the
clock and find it is 3:30am. So you drag yourself off to bed and fall asleep.
The next thing you know, you are awakened by excited voices. “Mommy,
Daddy, it’s Christmas! Santa was here. Come and see!
Then comes the flurry of the unwrapping. Jimmy doesn’t like what you
got him. He didn’t want that one. He told you what one he wanted. He
pouts in a corner. Sally didn’t get the gift she wanted the most. She
doesn’t say much is occupied playing with her other stuff; but you are
keenly aware of her disappointment.
Then you look around and there is no where to walk without stepping
on a piece of wrapping paper, a box, or a bow. So you drag your
unwilling, exhausted body around the room, scooping it up. What a
day! You fall into bed, exhausted. You failed again. Not perfect.
We are back to hum drum status quo again.
After all that running about, there is something empty and sad about things
returning to normal; and well, boring.
Gathering with family may have opened up some old
emotional wounds we thought we had conquered.
Getting together with family is one of the joys of the holiday season; but
sometimes it opens old wounds. And you find that the brother or sister
you never got along with hasn’t changed. Sometimes hurtful words are
spoken and feelings are hurt. Maybe someone didn’t like the gift that
you were sure they would love. Or perhaps you got someone something
you could barely afford, and they got you a box of candy. When the
holidays are over, all these feelings flood upon us. We don’t know what
to do with them so we feel sad, empty, and dissatisfied.
Having no family to visit on the holiday leaves one
with a loneliness residue after the holidays.
Everyone else is celebrating with family and you have none to go to;
or there is a rift between you and your children and you are left to
celebrate the holidays alone. This feeling of loneliness can linger on
even after all the celebration is over.
If you are going through a divorce or some type of
family turmoil during the holidays; it hits even harder
after the excitement of the holidays is over.
The stress of going through a divorce, or any type of family problem is even
more acute during and after the holidays. It seems even more sad.
You may realize that you have put on 5 to 10 pounds
eating all those goodies.
Oh, what delicious meals you had for Thanksgiving and Christmas! All
the trimmings, everything you love to eat. And it is the holiday’s after
all, so eat, you do. And those scrumptious deserts, and of course, the
Christmas cookies. You indulge. You throw caution to the wind.
You need to go on a diet because you indulged.
The holidays are over. So you timidly step on the scale. Oh no! You are
repulsed by what you see there. It’s diet time.
With less daylight, some suffer from sunlight deprivation.
There are some people who become sad or depressed when they don’t get
enough light or sunlight. If you are one of those people this could add to
the other reasons for post holiday blues.
You are grieving for spring, summer and sunny weather.
If you are a person who really doesn’t like winter and much prefer the spring and
summer months; this could be another cause of the blues.
The new year has handed you an empty slate and you have
no idea what to fill it with.
There is a whole new year in front of you; and you haven’t the slightest idea what
you will do with it. It seems to you as though everyone else has a plan, and is
starting out the new year with gusto. But you are simply spent, exhausted, and
without a clue how to start this new venture.
How do we conquer and move on?
The holidays have taken their toll. Give yourself some TLC.
Take relaxing baths in lieu of quick showers. Do a total body
cleanse to get rid of all that holiday junk you put in your
body. Go for a massage, facial or manicure/pedicure.
Center your life back on God and the Bible
Have the holidays done a number with your Bible reading
and devotions? Take this time to move back in to His
presence. He is your strength, comfort and ever present
help in time of trouble. Turn back to your lifeline.
Adopt healthy eating and healthy habits
Make small changes instead of trying to diet right away.
Drink more water. Eat more veggies. Make sure to get
your protein. Ease into better eating.
Get more rest
The holidays are notorious for stealing your sleep. You
have spent all this time going without enough sleep. Go
ahead, sleep in. Go to bed a half hour earlier each night.
Getting enough sleep can have a big impact on how you
feel physically and your emotional outlook as well.
This could be a good time for you to take some time to think
about who you really are and what you want out of life.
Set some short term and long term goals.
Realize that “This too shall pass”
Give yourself time to recuperate. There is not anything in
this life that is permanent. This too shall pass. You will get
through this time of sadness and emotional stress. There are
better days ahead. Tell yourself this. Be aware of your self
talk and endeavor to make it positive.
If this feeling lasts too long, seek help.
If you do all these things and nothing is easing the pain, or
taking away the anxious emotions. And time isn’t healing
your wounds, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to your
family physician, or go for some counseling. You may have
a more serious form of of depression.
I hope this post has helped someone to be able to deal with
their post holiday blues in a more positive manner. My reason
for writing this is to let you know that you are not alone and
there is help out there.
I want all of you to be able to get past the post holiday blues,
and any other type of sadness or depression, to a place of joy
I consider my readers as my friends, and I want the best life
has to offer for each one of you. May God bless and comfort
you through this new year. May He show you the blessings
He has prepared for you and the wonders of His presence
in your life.
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At your service,