Fighting The Post-Holiday Blues
For one, the fancy pre-holiday social events you have been attending have died down and the family members you may have traveled to see are likely yet again distant.
If you put a lot of effort into preparing for your holiday and have been indulging in unhealthy food, you also might just be plain old exhausted. Plus, depending on where you live, it's probably pretty cold outside!
Others may not experience post-holiday depression until after New Years, or even a few weeks in when the buzz of resolutions start to fade and the routine annoyances compound.
Some may also find that the arrival of 2020 has made them acutely aware of goals they'd failed to achieve in the year past. Finally, it might not help that the next major holiday coming up is Valentine's Day, which could be just another bummer to someone who doesn't have a a Valentine!
For better or for worse, none of these sentiments are unique. Post-holiday depression is actually fairly common, with as many as twenty-five percent of people saying that they've experienced it.
These feelings are part of a psychological phenomenon in which the lead-up to a big event results in an emotional let-down afterward. The anticipation of a great day can be nearly as exciting as the day itself, but as soon as it's over, there's nothing to look forward to.
Some people report similar feelings after vacations, weddings, or the end of a summer off. Professional athletes have even spoken of a "post-Olympic depression!"
One of the worst things you can do about these unpleasant feelings is wallowing in them, since negative thoughts can actually have a physical effect! They may trigger your brain to release the stress hormone cortisol, which can wreak havoc on your weight and on your health.
Fortunately, there are ways to pull yourself out of the slump. For instance, maybe you just need something else to look forward to! So, if you have the means, it might be a good time to make travel plans.If that isn't feasible, peppering your week with something as simple as a coffee date with a friend or a trip to the massage parlor could be enough to keep your whole week brighter.
If you've been feeling lonely since the Christmas bells stopped ringing, you may also want to make an effort to spend more time with friends and family. December shouldn't be the only time you hang out with your loved ones!
Or, if you're just bored without all the Christmas hubub, it might be a good time to lean back into hobbies you once enjoyed but may have lost sight of.Also, while January isn't a time to "detox" or crash diet, it might be a good time to focus on eating healthy whole foods rather than harmful processed ones. This will benefit your brain (and thus your mood) as much as your body, since good gut health and a nutrient-packed diet are essential to keeping your mind in tip-top shape.January is also a great time to commit to more exercise! The physical endorphin rush will also be a big mood booster, and gaining strength and muscle might help you feel a chance of achievement.
If these strategies don't work, it might be time for a more radical solution, like changing up your career if you still feel unsatisfied at work, or consulting a therapist to investigate the possibility that you have more serious clinical depression rather than just a fleeting case of January blues.
In any case, you should try to be grateful for the holiday magic you did experience, rather than mourning good times past. After all, there's always next year!
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