Sad After The Holidays? You’re Not Alone…

How to Cope with the Post-Holiday Blues

A trail of brown needles leads out to the curb where the Christmas tree, once fragrant and green, lies wilted and dying. Unplugged are the brightly colored lights and, along with the treasured decorations, boxed up and stored away. Gone too, are family and friends. And where so recently nights were filled with gala social gatherings, the only thing left on many to-do lists is return gifts and mop up.

 

To top it off, in many parts of the country dreary, gray days lengthen into cold, dark nights.

 

No wonder so many people find themselves at a loss once the holiday season is over. The Post-Holiday Blues—feelings of sadness, of let-down, of depression—are not at all uncommon this time of year.

 

As the name implies, these blues are seasonal and are likely to disappear as the routine of daily life sets in again and things get back to normal. But the symptoms are real and can make a return to that ordinary rhythm hard to come by.

 

 

Symptoms of the Post-Holiday Blues can include feelings of fatigue or lethargy, an increased need for sleep, a lack of interest in activities and a sense of loss or sadness. To help get through this time, here are some things you can do:

 

  • Extend the time of giving by continuing to be generous. With so many new toys, children can clean out their toy boxes and closets and give to a charity or church those which they no longer use or want. Adults can do the same with clothes, household items or their own “toys.”

 

  • Recount the good times by writing thank you notes. Handwritten notes acknowledging the gift of time shared can be meaningful too – for the writer as well as the recipient.

 

  • Instead of putting this year’s holiday pictures away in a drawer along with all those other photos of years gone by, set aside the time to put them in a holiday scrapbook. Make it a family project.

 

  • When the weather permits, take walks outside. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, exercise inside. Put on some music and dance with yourself.

 

  • Every day schedule in a pleasant activity for yourself. Even if it’s only a hot bath or a half-hour with a favorite book.

 

  • Bring beauty into your home and your life. Taking down the holiday decorations can make a place feel dull and empty. Fill it up again with art, candles, flowers, bowls of fruit.

 

  • Plan a trip or a project. Working on something and making plans gives you something to look forward to.

 

  • Volunteer for activities through one of your favorite organizations.

 

  • Recognize that this time and these feelings too shall pass, as the night to day and winter to spring.

 

However, feelings beyond “the blues” or feelings that are more debilitating, or that extend much beyond the post-holidays, may signal depression. Seek help when you need it. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone.

 

WINTER BLUE BLUE BLUES

 

This time of year there are SO many reasons to get the sadness blues:

  • getting sick from all the viruses
  • so much less daylight
  • feeling disconnected from people and feeling nobody gets you
  • memories reviewing of lost loved ones and missed opportunities
  • stress from the holidays

What is one supposed to do???

“Winter is coming” formally so  it is best to put on your proverbial winter coat and wrap yourself in good scarf and gloves to stave off or manage the pain that that sadness brings

Here are 3 “A” steps you can use to shift the energy into healing, health, and wholeness.

  1. ASSESS: What you are really feeling?  Are you carrying emotional anchors such as sadness, loneliness, regret, shame, blame from the past that may or may not be serving you in the present?  Stop what you are doing and go through the “WHO< WHAT <WHY<HOW<WHEN” of the emotion. Who was with me? What was I doing that triggered my present feeling? Why am I feeling this way? When have I felt this way before?  Getting clarity is so helpful to put the emotion into perspective.
  2. ACKNOWLEDGE you are human and forgive yourself and others.  Let your adult mature self nurture and hold your inner child who might be suffering from a loss or past trauma.  You are human and deserve to feel deeply and experience pain as well as joy.  It is truly the human experience to do so.  Be kind to yourself and be your OWN best friend!
  3. ACTIVATE: Tell yourself “this is a moment in time” and this too shall pass and let it be OK!  You might be mourning your expectation of what you thought your life would have or could have been.  Just acknowledge this and then  send to the universe your vision of what you expect the future to be.
    1. Set intentions to bring yourself back to the connection with other people.  YOU NEED THIS.  We are social animals.  If you are alone find a place to volunteer, go to a church service, work in a soup kitchen, make some food and take it to an elderly who is isolated or in a Nursing Home.
    2. Just make a list.  Set a timer…sit in your blues wholeheartedly and acknowledge your beautiful capacity to feel deeply.
    3. Get a natural “mood light” and use this mid-day to bring some “sunshine” to your day.

The Holiday Winter Blues are a true subjective experience and I wish you love, self kindness, connection, and support.