How to Defend Against the Post-Holiday Blues

December 22, 2015

Santa is officially back at the North Pole, all of the wrapping paper shreds are in the trash, and you are beginning to feel like the post season football games will not be enough to keep your spirits high after all of the  Christmas and New Year’s festivities. All of the cheer of the season is slipping away and distress may be descending upon you. This, my friends, is what we call the post-holiday blues.

The cold and shortened days of winter can make it tough to think that spring will ever emerge.  It will, and now is the time to crawl out of that funk before it really takes hold.

The Huffington Post suggested 8 ways to beat the holiday blues:

  • Take your vitamins. Remember it winter and days are long.  Vitamin D can help.
  • Get moving. Exercise and movement invigorate the body and mind.
  • Keep resolutions. Pick realistic goals and get to work.  Remember steady it goes.
  • Don’t be a hermit. Say “hi” to that neighbor when you are out walking.
  • Try light therapy. Be outside during a portion of the daylight hours.
  • Treat yourself. Choose your delight here. But, keep it realistic.
  • Consider aromatherapy. Your nose can tell your brain that “life is good.”
  • Indulge a little. See “Treat yourself” above. There has to be a piece of chocolate lingering in the house.

What are our options, choices, and plans of action for a quick recovery from post-holiday blues and seasonal affective distress?

I’d say think and act Positive, Positive, Positive.  Positively, you have to jump into positive activities.  Here are some tips and techniques that I’d say might help.

  • Take the focus off yourself. Do something for others.  During the holidays, shelters and charities are inundated with volunteers.  As soon as the “season of giving” is over, so too does the volunteering come to a screeching halt. Call a homeless shelter, a nursing home, or community center. There will be countless opportunities to turn that extra energy into quality time focused on someone else.
  • Dust off that special skill whether it is singing, a hobby or craft, or professional expertise and find a way to teach it to others, or just let others enjoy what you do so well.
  • Help an elderly neighbor take down the holiday decorations.  While you are at it, there must be extraordinary stories linked to those ornaments and special things.  Ask to be told the stories -- listening seems like such a lost art in today’s complicated world.

Obviously, some of the Holiday Blues symptoms can be more serious and and represent things that we should attend to.  There are plenty of resources in our communities to get some assistance and get back on track.  Online, you should check out the this post from WebMD: Blow off Post-Holiday Blues.   In the face of reality, WebMD suggests “setting big audacious goals like learning a language, changing careers, volunteering, starting a new business, joining a dating service (if you are single), or, planting a tree.”

Our health insurance plans typically include counseling services.  A good counselor can fix many problems related to the post-holiday blues in short order.  This is a positive resource that will pay huge dividends in your ability to cope successfully in the future.

Following the holidays, you might refocus on your diet.  All of those rich foods we “just had to eat” may be part of the problem.  A healthy diet of fresh and natural ingredients in consultation with a health professional may just be the ticket to getting your balance back.

Exercise, when advisable medically, is a great way to burn off some of those extra pounds that were sneaky enough to get tacked on.  Exercise invigorates, helps sleep, and produces a sense of accomplishment.  The fact is that after any level of exercise – whether a five minute walk of an hour of pumping iron – can be cause for celebration because “you did it.”  How good is that to say to yourself?  Remember to check with your health professional before starting an exercise program.

Beliinda Munoz writing for TinyBhudda offers “50+ Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues” in addition to their stated mission of simple wisdom for complex lives.  There has to be something for everyone in that list.

Ok, I think we have set out some possible ways to dump the post-holiday blues. Spring is coming, the days are actually getting longer, and the snow is going to melt.  Poke your nose out the door, take a big deep breath of that chilly wintery air, and get to work implementing some (or all) of these tips. The blues will be gone in no time.