Overcoming the Post-Christmas Blues
by Donna Schlachter
With all the hype beginning at Thanksgiving and carrying through to New Year’s, it’s no wonder that by January 2 we’re running on fumes, leftover adrenaline, and the prospect of nothing more exciting than President’s Day for the next month. Add to that any feelings of guilt from overspending or overeating, as well as perhaps not seeing family and friends because of current pandemic restrictions, and the big surprise this month will be that more folks aren’t blue.
If you find yourself wondering what’s wrong with you, here’s the simple answer: nothing. It’s perfectly normal to feel like the last month sped past in a blur. Perhaps even the previous year, with all of its changes and disappointments. Maybe you’re feeling emptier than the gift bags stored away for next year. Research indicates there really is an increase in mental health problems after the holidays.
So what can you do to alleviate or even completely eliminate these feelings of let-down? Here are some tips:
- Let it go. Much of what you’re experiencing is a form of grief. Cope by journaling, blogging, or writing to close friends and family who you trust. Write a complaint letter to Santa; write a sad song; pray a prayer that lets you grieve the passing of the day, the month, the year; paint a picture that expresses how you feel.
- Don’t limit Christmas to one day. Find ways to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, which actually starts after December 25.
- Keep the Christmas spirit alive by volunteering, either formally or informally. Offer to shovel your neighbor’s walk, or simply do it after the next snowstorm.
- Set your resolutions early, and not at impossible-to-reach levels. Be realistic.
- Choose a fun activity to share with family or friends, and do it. Go to a movie; go skiing; order in a pizza and watch a favorite movie.
- Treat yourself. You probably spent the entire season focusing on others. Do a spa day; take a walk; plan your next vacation; eat something you’ve restricted recently; read a book; soak in a bubble bath.
- Don’t isolate. Meet up with family and friends, even if only by online video.
- Be creative. Take up a new hobby.
- Look ahead to the future. Fill out your calendar. Plan fun days.
No matter the reason for feeling down, you don’t have to stand by and let it happen. But if you or somebody close to you sees drastic changes in your behavior, such as sleeping too much (or not enough), eating too much (or not enough), or erratic shopping, then please seek help. For example, Focus on the Family offers free counseling services by telephone; and Faithful Counseling is also available to help for a reasonable fee.
Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. Visit her on www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor, and on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter