You’ve taken down the lights, put away the decorations, and waved goodbye to your out-of-town guests. All of a sudden, the house seems empty — and you feel empty too. The holidays are over, and you’re experiencing a letdown that is affecting your mood and your energy levels.
Getting back to the daily grind — work, school, household chores — can be difficult after the fast-paced excitement of the holidays. You may feel lethargic and unmotivated. Perhaps you’re depressed because your loved ones have gone home and it will be months before you see them again.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of the post-holiday blues, take proactive steps to overcome them. Replace your holiday cheer with a renewed sense of purpose in the new year. Try these tips for overcoming post-holiday depression.
1. Fill Your Calendar
It’s fortunate that new calendars take effect immediately after the holidays. Rather than looking backwards, you can think about what lies ahead. To get past the post-holiday blues, start making plans for events and adventures that will get you excited for the next 12 months.
Having something to look forward to — whether it’s a summer vacation, an out-of-town wedding, a family reunion, or another event — will help brighten your outlook. The more your calendar fills up, the quicker you’ll be able to move past the post-holiday blues.
2. Indulge in “Me” Time
After spending the holidays doing things for others, relish having some time for yourself. Yes, it’s time for some self-care! Book a spa day. Go to the movies in the middle of the day. Enjoy spending your holiday gift cards. Also use “me” time to engage in self-improvement. Take up a new hobby. Join a book club. Find a creative outlet, such as painting, writing, or learning a musical instrument.
3. Get Excited for Outdoor Activities
As the weather warms up, make time to get outdoors for fun and recreation. Participate in a sport like golf, tennis, or pickleball. Get a jump on spring by planning a garden. Or just enjoy the opportunity to walk or jog in the sunshine. Research shows that vitamin D from sunlight can boost your mood and decrease depression, so soaking up some rays (with sufficient sunscreen, of course) can be doubly effective in ridding yourself of the post-holiday blues.
4. Exercise to a Better Mood
The post-holiday period is a great time to renew your commitment to physical fitness. Not only will regular exercise help you melt away any extra holiday pounds, but it is also a great mood booster. Physical activity releases endorphins, which have been shown to trigger positive feelings and create a brighter outlook on life.
5. Improve Your Home
With all the holiday decorations stored away, you may notice some improvements you want to make to your home. Even something as simple as repainting a room in a fresh, vibrant color can elevate your mood. Or perhaps take on a more ambitious home improvement project, such as remodeling your kitchen or adding a new deck. Doing the work yourself not only will improve the look of your home, but it also can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that counteracts your depressed mood.
6. Organize your memories
Relive your memories from the holidays by sorting and organizing your photos and videos. Print out your favorites, frame them, and hang them as part of your updated home décor. Create online photo albums to share with family and friends. You can even take some of your favorite photos and have them reprinted on blankets, pillows or in a custom photo book. When you’re feeling low, look through the book to lift your spirits—and then give your loved ones a call to catch up on what they are doing now.
7. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Whatever you do, don’t turn to drugs or alcohol to boost your mood. Though you may feel temporarily better by having a drink, alcohol is a depressant that will make your condition worse. In fact, alcohol use disorder and major depressive disorder are two conditions that often co-occur. Using alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings can lead to an addiction that is hard to overcome.
8. Seek Help If Needed
Give yourself some time to snap out of the post-holiday blues, but if a week or two passes and you’re still feeling depressed, reach out for help. Professional therapists will help you find the cause of your depressed mood and recommend an effective course of action.
As you work to overcome your depression, you’ll come to appreciate what daily life has to offer with the realization that joy can come not only at the holidays but throughout the entire year.
Beachside Rehab can assist those who struggle with post-holiday depression. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 to discuss how we can help.
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash