For a lot of people, the hype of the holidays can bring a lot of excitement, joy, and lots of nostalgia. For others, the holiday season can bring up past trauma, estranged relationships, and feelings of loneliness. Even if that isn’t the case, the holidays are like an emotional rollercoaster. You go from intense levels of holiday activities to very low energy, which can seem like peace, but the emotional result is often depression.
What Are The Post-Holiday Blues?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the holiday blues are characterized by feelings of anxiety and stress that stem from a variety of reasons. A 2015 survey found that about 64% of people reported that they experienced the post-holiday blues. Financial stress, an inability to make it home for the holidays, and the emotional whirlwind of emotions after the holidays finish can all cause bouts of depression. Plus, seasonal depression is more common than you think, with about 14% of American adults experiencing the winter blues.
If you are dealing with feelings of stress or depression, please understand that you are not alone. There are many ways to manage your symptoms and get the help you need. The post-holiday blues can affect people who may or may not be dealing with depression already. The following signs are common indicators of post-holiday blues:
- Activities are more difficult than normal
- Difficulty getting out of bed or struggling to make food
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Having trouble concentrating
- Losing interest in things that used to bring you joy
Don’t let the post-holiday blues control your life. Take action and manage your mental health, working through your feelings to start anew. We hope that the following tips help you beat the post-holiday blues.
Get Out Of The House
Cut the atmosphere of being in a house that doesn’t have any holiday activities or aromas by getting out of your home. Even on a gray or snowy day, step outside to raise your energy levels. If it is really cold where you are, make sure to bundle up so as not to freeze. You can combine your outing by meeting a friend at a local coffee shop. Consider chatting with the cashier at the grocery store, the mail carrier, or even the gas station attendant. Getting out of your house is a great way to interrupt the winter blues.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking and the holidays seem to be quite synonymous, especially during holiday celebrations. The intake of libations tends to continue long after the celebrations come to a close, though. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can only enhance feelings of sadness, especially if you are alone. Drinking to excess can affect your mood and amplify any negative feelings, even if you push them down deep. Avoid alcohol if you can and consider doing something productive, like taking down decorations, getting rid of old clothes, or volunteer at a local shelter to help out those in need.
Talk To Someone Verbally
It’s easy to send a text, direct message, or email, but it means so much more when you communicate verbally. Think about someone that you enjoy being around or care about and call that person on the phone. Rather than complaining about your mood, ask them how they are doing. What was the best part of their holiday weekend, or where did they have the most fun? If you feel that someone may not answer their phone, you can send a text saying that you want to chat for a few minutes.
Reread Greeting Cards
Greeting cards, or holiday cards, are not as common as they used to be, but people still send them and they can bring a smile to your face. We aren’t going to lie: some greeting cards are bland and boring. For every few bad greeting cards, you get a great one that you hopefully save. When the holidays are over, bust out the greeting cards to reread them and figure out which ones are your favorites. Don’t ruminate in your depression when you can easily brighten your spirits by reading words from a friend, family member, or loved one.
Slide Out Of The Holidays
If you are going to sit on the couch and watch TV or do another activity, make sure that it is not holiday-related. It may not seem likely, but you can easily go down the rabbit hole of what you just lost. Take care of your mental health by taking your mind off the holidays and directing your gaze toward the new year. There are many things to do to wrap up the year! Consider getting a head start on your health goals, or start cleaning to have a neat and tidy home for New Year’s Day.