The holidays are now things of the past. After the anticipation, excitement and celebration, it’s sometimes sad to see them leave. We’ve had wonderful times of eating, parties, eating, family, eating, gifts, eating, special events, eating, guests, eating, and travel… oh, and eating.
Now you’re ready to start the New Year with some well-intentioned resolutions, but in spite of your plans to lose weight, save money, exercise more and spend more quality time with family, you may not be feeling up to it. It’s possible you’re experiencing a very real phenomenon: Post-Holiday Blues. If you’re feeling down, don’t wait to deal with it. It’s January, so there’s still time to start off the New Year on a good foot.
What’s making you blue? Here are some common causes of the blues and ways to tackle them.
Note: There’s a big difference between feeling a little sad and clinical depression. If you’re feeling depressed, seek professional help right away.
Weight. If you didn’t gain weight over the holidays, congratulations! Giving all the temptations the season brings, that’s quite an accomplishment. For others, we had a cookie or two… or five. We’re the ones wondering how to deal with those extra pounds. First, don’t beat yourself up. You’re certainly not alone, and it’s important for you to enjoy the season, including the food it brings. Second, don’t try to lose all the excess at once. Crazy crash diets do not work; they may be nutritionally unbalanced, and you’ll likely end up putting all the weight back and maybe adding more because you feel deprived. Focus on moderation. Eat smaller portions scattered through the day to avoid overeating at mealtime, eat more veggies, cut back on the pasta, and get more exercise. Don’t overdo or you may burn out and stalk those bake-it-yourself cookies at midnight.
Spending. You had a budget and tried to stick to it, but first you forgot to buy a gift for Great Aunt Eloise, then you decided to splurge on a really great dinner with friends, and finally you couldn’t resist the deals at the post-holiday sales. Now your credit cards are groaning, and you’re wondering if you can live on ramen noodles for the next two months. As overwhelming as this may be, it’s good to address it instead of hoping it goes away. Whether you use a spreadsheet or pen and paper, write down your monthly income and expenses. Look for ways to economize (stay home and stream a movie, make your own lunches, no expensive coffee drinks) and make sure to keep up with your bills, including the ones like credit cards where a single late payment can damage your credit scores. There are simple changes you can make that will help you get out from under the financial burden you may be feeling after the season of spending.
Energy. Too many parties, too many late nights and a few long travel days can contribute to post-holiday fatigue. Use these short winter days for that most indulgent of treats, a weekend nap. Don’t sleep so long that you disrupt your normal sleep pattern (you need to get back into your routine), but give yourself permission to snuggle under the covers for an hour. Binge a show on Netflix or read that stack of books that’s waiting for you! Be kind to yourself.
Winter. It doesn’t matter if you live in the sunny southwest, the snowy northeast or somewhere in between. The days are shorter, the nights are colder and spring is 3 months away. You can’t control the season, but you can control the way you deal with it. I know it’s cold (trust me, I know cold – I lived in Wisconsin for 14 years), but get outside when you can. Dress in layers and go for a walk. Learn to snowshoe. Ride your bike. Try ice skating. If you’ve binged every show and read every book you want, find something new to do. Learn a language (perhaps to a vacation spot you’ll visit later this year). Master the art of puff pastry. Engage your brain and emerge from the winter doldrums with a new accomplishment.
Looking Ahead. After all the excitement of the holidays, you may feel like there’s nothing to look forward to. The twinkling lights and shiny decorations are packed away. The festive meals have finished. The constant stimulation of friends and family has ended. Start by changing your point of view. January isn’t a vast wasteland; it’s a blank slate Use this month to create a better 2018. Planning doesn’t have to be elaborate. Write each month at the top of a piece of paper or a new page on an e-document. Jot down what you’d like to do, what you must do, and what you want to remember, month by month. Make a conscious effort to connect with those who are dear to you. A casual dinner at home with a close friend or two could lift your spirits. Do your taxes early. Never miss a birthday. Create a killer dessert for 4th of July. Take control of your year right now!
Maybe there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues, but try some of these ideas and you may cure your post-holiday blues. Whatever the season, it’s important to remember that life is full of wonderful things and is an exciting journey!