There is often a frenzy of activities leading up to Christmas, and then all of a sudden, it's over. It's done! You got or didn’t get the gift you wanted for Christmas. The holiday parties and family celebrations are over. Your family members or you are fighting traffic or cancelled airline flights heading back home. The highly anticipated moments are done or the dreaded moments of seeing aunt Agnes or having to be alone on Christmas is behind you. Now what?
We have all experienced great highs and great lows this past year. The Holidays can bring about the highest of highs - wrapping presents for a child that still believes in Santa Clause, finding the perfect present for a loved one, and giving selflessly to others.
We also have to acknowledge that the Holidays can be a trigger for those that may be without, those that have lost loved ones, and those that simply do not have enough to make ends meet. The Holidays can be full of joy for many people or a tough season for a lot of us - a time of reflection to be sure.
Those that have means and can go out and buy presents sometimes have to remember that they are buying something that the recipient can’t and won’t get again. Be it a toy, or an experience, this is something that can make a huge impact on the recipient's life. It’s exciting to look forward to our children unwrapping the perfect gift, or our spouse getting the one special item they’ve been wanting on Christmas morning. But, the reality is that after we move past the “high” of Christmas morning, we often experience the “post-holiday blues” or feelings of depression, tiredness, anxiety or wanting the “next best thing” very quickly.
How can we extend the special moments of the holidays, reduce the effects of the post-holidays let down, resist the urge to start chasing the “next” thing, and really appreciate what we have in the “now’? According to Libby MacCarthy of Psycom, below are some things you can do to start:
Take care of yourself - Get quality sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a nutrient-dense diet—these healthy lifestyle cornerstones are recommended by experts to boost mood and manage depression symptoms. Between late-night festivities, sugary snacks and long to-do lists, these practices often fall to the wayside during the holiday season. Re-establishing them as a regular and non-negotiable fixture in your routine is essential for getting back on track if you’re struggling emotionally or physically.
Schedule time for fun - Social interaction is a critical component of enhanced well-being. Now that the holiday parties and family events have petered out, an empty calendar might feel a bit depressing. Slowly adding some activities you enjoy to your calendar will give you something to look forward to and help to lift you out of the doldrums. It’s easy to withdraw when you’re feeling down. Reaching out to and getting face time with friends and other people you care about—even when you don’t feel like it—can also provide a much-needed boost.
Be patient and go easy on yourself - Post-holiday blues won’t stick around forever. In the meantime, cut yourself some slack. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you do and take the time you need to find your footing.
Other than these self-care activities, it is important for us to:
Take the focus off ourselves - Still seek out ways to help others after the holiday season is over. Helping others produces hormones that boosts our moods and will help put us back on course to start a productive and happy new year.
Spread Kindness - Humbly considering and actually carrying out God’s mission to spread kindness and joy to others will help us to quickly get past the post-holiday blues.
Let’s choose to continue the habit of helping others in small, perhaps secret ways after the Holiday season is over. Doing so will be a fantastic start to a Happy New Year!
Written and submitted by GSS Agent # 38118