Holiday season is a very emotional time. A time of joy, family and tradition. Participating in holiday season festivities gives us a sense of belonging, togetherness and happiness. It is easy to indulge in endless shopping, gifting, eating and partying during the holidays. And it is so hard to avoid the blues once the regular life resumes.
This reaction to the end of holiday season is not unusual. Some studies show that around 25 percent of Americans suffer from different grade depression after the holidays. People feel depressed when holidays are over for different reasons.
Why Do We Feel Blue After the Holidays?
Post – Vacation Blues
If you spent holidays away, you may be challenged with the feeling of post-travel depression. Coming back to reality after vacation sometimes can bring on sadness. Especially if you came back from the tropics to cold weather and piles of snow in the streets.
We usually spend holidays surrounded by other people. If you were looking forward to socialization during holidays and enjoyed being around others, it is normal that you feel empty and disappointed now that gatherings and parties are over and you’re spending most of your evenings at home. A sudden lack of social events after the holidays usually leaves people feeling bored, sad and lonely.
Back to Work
You may have been off from work during holidays and now you are back to work every day. Do we even have to say anything else here??
Memories of Loss
Holidays increase the grief in case you lost a close person or a connection with a close person due to death, distance or divorce. Watching other people in their shared happiness may bring back memories of people who we no longer have a relationship with and make us grieve all over again.
Depression or Normalization?
What we call post-holiday blues or post-holiday depression is in fact a post-holiday normalization, according to Australian psychologist and wellness expert Melissa Weinberg. She explains that our feeling of depression after the holidays are over is actually an adjustment to a changing life circumstance.
Every big event that we prepare for and count the days until leaves us deflated in a way afterward. So, what can you do to cope with the blues after the party is over?
Coping With Post-Holiday Sadness
Accept Your Feelings
Instead of resisting dissatisfaction after the holidays, accept it. Deliberate about what you expected from the holidays and what you experienced. Reflect how you feel about it and accept your feelings. Keep in mind that it is normal to feel down after the holidays are over and that sadness you may experience usually doesn’t last long.
Carry on Good Things
Take something that made you feel good during the holidays and continue with that afterwards. Who says you have to stop seeing people just because holidays are over? Invite friends over or go out together sometimes. Visit your family more often throughout a year. You don’t have to wait until Christmas to go back home or spend time with your siblings.
Celebrate Real Life
Don’t forget to give gratitude any chance you have. Count your blessings for all the good things in your life. Learn to live in a moment and appreciate small things that make you happy every day.
Practice relaxation and mindful breathing techniques because breathing regulates our thoughts and our emotions. The great way to stay emotionally fit after the holidays is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you are concentrated on present moment, without interpretation or judgment. You can do some yoga practices, also can read some yoga meditation quotes
Many studies proved the benefits of mindfulness exercises on our mental health. These exercises can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. They can also improve your mood and increase optimism.
To practice mindful breathing, focus attention on your breathing. Concentrate on the inhale and exhale while laying comfortably.
If you feel particularly stressed, take a comfortable position and exercise exaggerated breathing: a deep inhale through your nostrils until you feel that your stomach is filled with air, hold your breath and let it fill your lungs and your brain and then a long exhale through your mouth. Focus on the whole process and repeat as needed.
Keep Active and Healthy
Start or continue regular daily exercise routine. Exercise reduces stress releasing chemicals in our brain known as hormones of happiness: dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin. A light everyday exercise can help you feel relaxed and mentally and physically fit.
Make sure you get enough sleep. During the holidays our sleep schedule usually changes and some people have a hard time getting back on the track with their normal sleep routine after the holidays. Try to stay away from excessive caffeine and alcohol and make sure you don’t eat big meals close to a bedtime. Spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
Not being able to achieve your New Year’s resolutions may only worsen your post-holiday blues. Thus it’s important to make your resolutions realistic. Plan small changes of your habits or behaviours so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the feeling of failure. Don’t be too tough on yourself if you cannot keep your resolutions. Instead of scolding yourself for not keeping your resolutions, make those that you can keep. Keep in mind that as long as you make a goal that’s attainable, you shouldn’t be worried.
Decision to start fresh in New Year will boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. If you keep your resolutions realistic and achievable, they can be a great way to do make positive changes in your life.
Plan ahead things that you look forward to. This can be a dinner with a friend, a nature walk, movie night, a visit to a museum or similar.
If you feel that you can’t cope with post-holiday blues, reach out for professional support. If you do need further support from a professional, you can search Chrysalis Courses website database to find an experienced counsellor to assist you in managing your feelings.
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