Following the fun and festivities of the holiday season, mild depression or mental distress is common as many people find it difficult to get back into their normal daily lives. This is commonly referred to as holiday blues or post-holiday syndrome. It’s not unusual for a person suffering from the blues to behave erratically for the first few weeks after the holiday. It is important for people to realize that the change back to a normal routine is disruptive and stressful so do what you can to ease yourself back into it.
Here are a few things you can do to help eliminate those post-holiday season blues.
Pack it Up. Take down your Christmas tree, pack up your decorations, pull down those cards and clean out holiday leftovers from your refrigerator as soon as possible to alleviate stress and potential sadness.
It’s Normal. Expect to feel a little low following the holidays. It’s normal to feel this way, but it will pass once the routine re-establishes itself.
Realistic Resolutions: Take another look at your New Year’s resolutions and tweak them to ensure they are reasonable and achievable. Discard any resolutions that require you to be too hard on yourself.
Stay Connected. Don’t isolate after the holidays. Staying connected to your friends and family will lift your spirits. Go out and do things socially that you enjoy.
Make Plans. Arranging fun activities allows you to look forward to something. Go back to school, have dinner with a friend, go see a play or movie. The anticipation is exciting as you think of doing that event.
Healthy Choices. Eat foods that boost your serotonin (feel good) neurotransmitters like bananas, poultry, dairy produce, and peas. Keep exercising regardless of the weather or time of the year.
Professional Help. Hire a professional to help with the pressing issues from work or your personal life that were put on hold because of the holiday. It could be dealing with the unhappy feelings you’re experiencing now, or it could be something more serious if you struggled with alcohol during the holidays. If you recognize that you might be dealing with an alcohol or substance abuse issue get an assessment from a professional.
Expect Better. Start the New Year with a positive attitude and expect that your life will be better and more enjoyable that never. Start thinking about what you want to do during the different seasons of the year. Plan the big events you want to accomplish for the year and what steps you will take.
Post-holiday syndrome or the blues are normal and should pass quickly. However, if you experience persistent sadness that is not attributed to the holidays then this could be a more serious form of depression. If you are suffering from depression or you’re not sure, seek professional help
Mike Reis is the founder and CEO of DecisionPoint Wellness, a drug and alcohol outpatient program in Johns Creek, Georgia that features an innovative approach to treating the disease of addiction and mental health disorders.