Post-holiday sadness is common, but did you know there are self-care strategies to overcome it? Try these quick tips to cure the post-holiday blues.
Some years it has hit me as soon as the wrappings hit the floor.
That overwhelming sadness that rushes in, uninvited, upon realizing that the holiday craziness (that I just complained about) has ended.
The post-holiday blues. Also known as Christmas letdown, holiday depression, or post-Christmas blues.
How to Cure the Post-Holiday Blues
No matter which of the different names you use, I hope you find some things to help you feel better and cure the post-holiday blues!
1 Continue Building Spiritual Horsepower
After focusing on gratitude and thankfulness in November and celebrating Advent in December, many people have created a spiritual momentum.
So, could you keep it going?
Research shows that meditative prayer is calming, and church service participation reduces stress levels.
Keep doing what you’re doing, or add something new or different.
2 Take Care of Yourself to Cure the Holiday Blues
We have a silly saying in our house to describe ‘I don’t feel so good’ after eating so many fatty and sugary foods throughout the extended holiday season.
We say, “I’m vegetable depleted!”
In other words, after indulging in holiday treats or even the more lavish entrees, we notice how the effects the high-calorie, low-nutrient food choices have on our energy, mood, and overall comfort level have made us feel.
The added deadlines and varied schedules take a toll on us too. We feel worn out and tired.
If you’re noticing these feelings too, take care of yourself to feel better, and you’ll find it will also help cure the post-holiday blues.
- Get back into your sleep routine
- Move around a little bit more
- Start eating your regular diet
- Literally, eat more vegetables
- Add tryptophan-containing foods
Increasing levels of serotonin in your brain can also improve your mood. Eating foods that contain the essential amino acid tryptophan helps the body produce more serotonin.
Put foods like salmon, spinach, seeds, nuts, eggs, milk, soy, and poultry on your grocery list – these are tryptophan-containing foods.
Is Your Faith Important to You?
If so, I want to encourage you to use scripture to help you find the courage and ambition to start taking better care of yourself and the motivation to continue.
Consider taking care of yourself to worship and honor the Lord. Find more information here.
I suspect you’re not just trying to take better care of yourself. You take care of others too. That’s exhausting in ordinary seasons, but especially during the holidays! So use your faith to help you.
Whether you care for your
- Aging parents
- Serve in ministry or non-for-profits
- Or even all of the above
It takes motivation to prioritize self-care when you are serving and caring for others.
3 Change Your Expectations to Cure the Holiday Blues
The strategy that has helped me the most was changing my expectations. It’s helpful in three ways.
- First, if you’ve experienced the holiday blues in the past, expect it to happen again and prepare for it. Plan out strategies to cope. In my experience, just hoping it wouldn’t happen again didn’t help. But having coping strategies at the ready did.
- Second, have positive expectations about your future. Remember that you will have joy ahead, even if the holiday blues affect you. Now is a great time to make travel plans for the year (so you have something to look forward to in the future), or create a budget for the year (so you feel like you have a definite strategy in place for the future).
- And third, make a gratitude list after the holidays.
I like to identify things I am grateful for and list positive (and negative) learnings from the holiday experience to plan for the next holiday season.
Focusing on the successes of the season (no matter how small) extends the season’s joy.
4 Make Rest and Relaxation (R&R) Appointments
Take advantage of the new-found downtime and schedule appointments for rest and relaxation.
This may mean a trip to a spa or nail salon when appropriate.
But for most of us, it means setting aside designated time to sit down with a good book, a feel-good movie, a time to be creative through writing, painting, and other arts, or taking a good NAP.
5 Stay Connected
Stay connected to the people you met or reconnected with during the holiday season.
Schedule a coffee or lunch date, so you connect or get out of the house and spend time with people you enjoy being around.
6 Find Something to Look Forward to Later
Now is a GREAT time to learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or attend a new class.
Something you’ve been interested in trying.
Learning new things boosts your self-esteem and creates another reason to have something to look forward to in your future.
7 Keep Up the Giving
Sharing your time, talent or finances is another way to cure the holiday blues.
Your favorite organizations need help all year long.
Think about giving in the first quarter of the year.
8 Reframe Your Winter Attitude
Winter may not be your favorite season of the year, but still, some things can be fun during the winter season.
Outdoor activities like:
- Ice skating
offer a fun outdoor experience.
If being outside in the cold isn’t your thing, there are indoor activities like:
- Watching movies
- Live theater,
- Clearance-sale shopping
that can be amusing.
Many people think summer is the official vacation time, but winter is also a great time to travel.
Find at least one activity to enjoy during the winter that will make the winter season more joyful for you.
9 Make Goals, Not Resolutions to Cure the Holiday Blues
It seems that lots of people set New Year’s resolutions, but very few people keep them.
New Year’s resolutions come with a lot of pressure.
Perhaps setting attainable, measurable goals is a better choice for you.
Achieving goals to help you make a lifestyle change or take better care of yourself should be small and comfortable.
10 Explore and Support Your Community
This tip is especially helpful if you do not enjoy being outdoors in the winter.
Try out a new restaurant.
Visit a museum or art gallery.
Check out a library you haven’t been to yet.
Perhaps you might enjoy attending indoor high school or college sports events.
The list is endless – start looking at your community like a tourist!
11 Find Your Professionals
The winter season is great for reaching out and scheduling the right professionals. We all have needs we tend to put off ‘until things slow down.’
Perhaps you’ve thought you need to go to a counselor. Schedule an appointment and start attending while you’ve got some downtime.
Maybe you haven’t had a physical check-up for a while. Perhaps you’re overdue for preventative tests or screening. Now’s a great time to get that done.
It could even be that your home or car requires a professional service.
Give the professionals a call and get on their books so you can cross those items off of your to-do list.
Plus, you’ll feel like you’re making progress and improvements for your future!
12 Start a New Mid-winter Tradition
Traditions are something people can look forward to every year.
Big or small, traditions offer fun, excitement, and a sense of routine.
Traditions don’t have to be fancy or formal to be meaningful.
13 Leave the Tree & Trimmings to Cure the Post-Holiday Blues
Now, I’m not saying you have to be one of those who have Christmas lights up in July (although this is a no-judgment zone if you are!). I’m just saying we don’t rush the cleanup.
We’ve started a tradition at our house, and while I initially thought it was awkward, I love it!
We leave our tree until after my child’s birthday in February. I put the rest of the stuff away but left the decorated tree.
We’ve found it a comfort to turn on the tree lights on those cold, gray, snowy days.
Plus, it’s an instant conversation starter when people come over – it puts a smile on everyone’s face!
In closing, you may not be able to avoid experiencing the post-Christmas blues, but there are some pretty easy things you can do to cope with it.
I hope you’ve found some tips to help you cure the holiday blues this year!
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Hi, I’m Lisa! Thanks for visiting My Life Nurse, where we provide people who serve and take care of others with easy self-care plans and systems, wellness strategies, and scripture-based encouragement so you can stay happy, healthy and rejuvenated. I’ve found that many people struggle with caring for themselves while taking care of others, but they also feel called to serve others, so they keep working even when they’re stressed and exhausted. That’s why I combine my nursing expertise with Scripture-based teaching. Our readers love learning how to walk closer to the Lord to improve their self-care – so they can begin their journey to feel better – without feeling guilty. Be sure to grab your FREE Self-care StarTer Guide!