You’ve unwrapped all the presents, packed up all the decorations, eaten all the leftovers...now what?
Every year, the holiday season is a month-long event full of cheer, overindulgence, family, leisure, and even stress. And, every year, on January 2—it’s all over. All the hustle and bustle of the past few weeks is suddenly gone, leaving an empty house, an empty refrigerator, and (aside from returning to our regular routines) an empty schedule.
Some people welcome getting back to a routine after the holidays, but others just can’t seem to shake those post-holiday blues, leaving them feeling sad, lonely, and empty. However, with the right mindset, you can beat the post-holiday blues and look forward to another exciting and productive year.
Is Post-Holiday Funk The Same As Seasonal Depression?
While seasonal depression exhibits some of the same symptoms as “post-holiday sadness,” they are not the same thing, and it’s important to understand the difference. Seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder, is a type of depression associated with the changes in daylight hours. People experiencing seasonal depression will often oversleep, overeat, and feel apathetic about fun activities. These symptoms usually last from the beginning of fall until the end of spring, when the daylight hours are the shortest.
On the other hand, the post-holiday blues are a more situational sadness—brought on by the abrupt comedown after a stimulating holiday season. Those experiencing these blues will often feel sad and empty that the holidays are over but will most likely not experience the same debilitating effects of seasonal affective disorder.
How To Beat The Blues
If you think you’re experiencing seasonal depression, it’s best to speak with a therapist or a medical professional. If you believe what you’re experiencing is just post-holiday melancholy, there are certain strategies you can use to overcome those feelings.
1. Stay Connected With Others
Just because the parties and togetherness of the holidays (even if it was virtual this year) are over doesn’t mean you have to disconnect yourself from your family and friends. There’s even a chance that some of your loved ones are experiencing the post-holiday funk themselves and would appreciate you reaching out. Ask others how their holidays were, and share some of your favorite memories with them, as well. If possible, a phone call or a video chat is always better than a text message or email.
2. Set A (Realistic) New Year’s Resolution
People tend to blow off the idea of New Year’s Resolutions because they know that they’re difficult to maintain and usually broken. However, by setting realistic goals and expectations for the new year, you can have something to look forward to instead of dwelling on the now-over holidays.
These goals and resolutions don’t have to be daunting and unrealistic—maybe they’re as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day, connecting with friends more often, or finally signing up for that dating site that you’ve been putting off. These goals, even if they’re small, will change your mindset into a more forward and future way of thinking, getting you enthusiastic about the year to come.
3. Get Out of The House
Some of the contributing factors to both seasonal depression and the post-holiday blues are the short days, dreary weather, and lack of sunlight that come in January. Because of this, it’s essential to maximize your time in the fresh air and sunlight when possible. Getting some natural Vitamin D can aid in boosting serotonin levels and enhancing your overall mood.
Try to go on a short walk every day when the sun is out, or bring a book to a local park and read for 30 minutes. You can even invite a friend to join you, so you are kept accountable.
4. Come Down From The Sugar High
With your mind still set on the holidays, it can be tempting to continue the trend of overindulging on sweets and rich comfort foods. Colder weather can make it even more enticing to pop in a frozen pizza or whip up some cookies. Continuing in this cycle can contribute even more to that post-holiday gloom, though, as eating heavy foods low in nutrients can lead to lethargy and irritability.
Instead, try cooking some new meals. This will give you something to do, fill your home with aromas other than sugar cookies, and ensure you are eating well. Some nutritious foods in season during January include beets, kale, pomegranate, and sweet potatoes.
A New Meaning of Happy New Year
Everyone can feel a little bleak when the excitement and stimulation of the holiday season winds down. By changing your mindset, you realize it’s not about something ending, but something beginning. The new year is a blank slate full of endless possibilities, and we encourage you to get out there and take advantage of the opportunities!
Senior Solutions Management Group offers all-inclusive senior living options in Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina. We are dedicated to serving our residents, and the senior community at large, by offering tips, resources, and encouragement about health and wellness. For more information about health or our senior living communities, visit our blog!
From all of us at Senior Solutions Management Group, we wish you a truly Happy New Year!