It’s easy to feel let down after the Christmas presents are opened, the relatives and friends have packed up and moved out, and it’s time to return to work.
After all, some of us have spent more money on gifts and activities than we’d planned. Others built the holidays up to such euphoric heights that day-to-day life can’t possibly compete. And still others might have experienced quarrels with family, bad feelings from over-eating or failure to exercise, and the “sadness” that often arrives during the shortened grey days of winter.
While I don’t profess to be a therapist, I know several tricks for beating the blues that can come after the holidays are over:
- Eat healthy. Okay, so you slacked off your diet during Christmas. Big deal. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start today to eat healthy again. Back to the fruit and veggies; away from the cream pies and liquor.
- Exercise. Join a gym or the Y. Put on your sneakers and walk at the mall. Start a yoga program. Try some new exercises described in magazines. Just get moving! And you’ll stick with it longer if you have a buddy join you (like maybe your dog or spouse?)
- Leave your decorations up. Don’t be too quick to haul the tree, garland, and lights back to the attic. Leaving them up until mid-January frees you from the immediate stress of having to take them down, as well as can evoke good feelings of your Christmas get-together.
- Or not. For some people, getting the house “back to normal” waylays depression. Perhaps you can enlist your family’s help, rather than trying to do it all yourself. Make it fun and reward them afterward.
- Cut back on unnecessary expenses. Do you really need to eat out that often? Can’t you wait until that movie comes out on DVD? Don’t you have enough clothes and gadgets without shopping for more? Don’t bring yourself down by putting yourself in a financial hole.
- If you make New Year’s resolutions, be sure they’re realistic. Failing to meet your “goals” can lead to more stress and depression!
- Find things to look forward to. If you’re creative, you might want to catalog your Christmas memories in a photo album. If the holidays found you smothered by too much family and friends, perhaps you can take 20-30 minutes a day just for yourself — to meditate, to read, to regroup.
- Give to the less fortunate. Christmas probably brought you some new things. Maybe after-Christmas would be a good time to donate your used things to others.
- Listen to music. And while you’re at it, dance! And sing! Doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. Nobody needs to know but you.
- Get professional help. If you find your sadness and lethargy lingering beyond what’s reasonable, you might consider talking to a professional counselor. Depression is treatable, you know!