It’s back to the daily grind and post-holiday depression hovers on the sidelines. When the excitement and frenzy of the holiday season is over, most people feel a sense of loneliness. The season’s high comes crashing down and drops us with a brutal thump on the ground of reality. The letdown comes from unmet expectations, fatigue after the flurry of activities, guilt from the overindulgence of food and alcohol and a host of other factors.
Numerous studies have shown that completed and attempted suicides see an increase right after the New Year, which is the official end of the holidays. But it need not be so. If you or someone you know sense the onset of depression, do something before you become a statistic. Here are things that will help you overcome the blues that set in when Christmas is over.
8 Ways to Overcome Post Holiday Depression
1. Have an attitude makeover.
Identify the negative attitudes that are holding you back. Are you pessimistic? Do you see yourself as a loser? Some positive attitudes to cultivate in yourself are optimism, resiliency, kindness, being non-judgmental, gratitude and enthusiasm. Any attitude that makes you and the people around you happier is a positive one.
2. Develop a daily meditation time.
Find a quiet time and place where you can meditate for about 20 minutes a day. Block out the noise and distractions and turn inward. Meditation helps you find serenity in the turbulence you are in and dispel your gloomy mood.
3. Don’t force a cheerful disposition. Allow yourself genuine feelings.
Pasting a smile on your face when you don’t feel like it will only compound your negative feelings. Recognize that it’s okay to feel bad, too, then let the feeling pass. Post-holiday depression should not be denied but don’t take it as a license to be boorish and mean.
4. Redo your surroundings.
Let sunlight enter into your home or office. Open the windows or blinds and draw back the curtains. Trim the trees outside. If natural sun is not available, get artificial light with a light box and sit near it. A well-lighted room chases away the blues.
Put bright colors in the room. Repaint the walls. Replace the furniture. If these actions are an overkill, simply add bright accents such as throw pillows, runners and decors.
5. Engage in physical activity.
For people with a sedentary lifestyle, a run or jog can be the hardest thing to do. The lack of motivation is compounded by the cold and chill outside. It takes discipline and willpower but you must summon them and have a regular brisk walk. Exercising indoors is an option so you don’t come up with excuses not to do so. Physical exercise triggers the body to produce the happy hormones like serotonin. It also increases metabolism aiding in weight loss. What better way to get you out of a depressive disposition? Unlike ordinary light, bright lights are more effective at alleviating seasonal affective disorder and enhancing cognitive and social functions.
6. Practice healthy eating.
By now, we all know what healthy eating is. But it doesn’t follow that we also walk our talk. To refresh your minds, a good portion of your daily diet should consist of fruits and vegetables. Throw in whole grains and nuts. Go slower on refined and processed food, sugar and fats. They lack the nutrients your body needs, affect your focus, deprive you of energy and contribute to mood swings.
7. Call a friend.
Talk to someone you trust to provide you a cathartic release of your pent-up emotions. The verbal outpouring also helps you see your situation in a different perspective. But choose whom to talk to wisely – a psychiatrist, a guidance counselor or a friend whom you look up to. Also, don’t overdo it. Constant calling and pouring out all your feelings can be tiring for the listener and if they begin to avoid you, it will only add to your post-holiday depression.
8. Volunteer; do acts of kindness.
Volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Call up older aunts and uncles who are alone. Reach out and meet the needs of the less-privileged. Giving of your time, effort or resources to help others has the paradoxical outcome of benefiting the giver by making you feel good about yourself, being grateful for what you have and broadening your horizon.