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The Holidays Are Over; Why Am I So Blue?

Some tips to lift your sadness after the busy holiday time.

Many people experience sadness when the holidays are over. Sometimes it hits them hard and seems to come out of the blue. If I’m describing you, please don’t be alarmed. This reaction to the end of the holiday season is not at all unusual.

There are many reasons people get sad after the holidays. Here are some of them.

  1. We tend to have our schedules filled with social events during the month of December, only to have virtually nothing on the calendar in the month of January. So, we go from being social butterflies to being homebodies. If you enjoyed and looked forward to socializing, it most likely felt good and fulfilling to you. Getting out and being with people may have helped you to feel wanted, loved, important. You may have had the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and/or reacquaint yourself with old ones. A change in your social calendar with a sudden lack of social events to go to can lead to loneliness, boredom and a feeling of isolation.
  2. We often spend time with family during the holidays. And spending time with family can leave us with mixed feelings. Sometimes we feel let down by our interactions with family members and disappointed with the way they behaved towards us and/or treated us. This can lead to sadness and its own kind of mourning. Other times, we might experience tremendous joy at being with family members and then miss them terribly when they have gone home.
  3. Holidays tend to bring up memories of those no longer with us, or those with whom we no longer have a relationship. The loss might be because of death, divorce, or distance. Holidays can make us feel like we're going through the mourning process all over again.
  4. January is a dark, cold month where people tend to hibernate. So you may feel stuck at home. Additionally, it’s a month that can bring lots of snow leading to cancellations and the inability to go out as often as you may want.
  5. If you traveled or moved around a lot during the holidays, you may be tired now that they are over. Fatigue can cause us to feel run down and bring on sadness.
  6. You may have taken days off from work with time to rest and relax and now are back to work every day. Taking time off means that work was not done and you may be left with a pile of work to get through that can seem overwhelming.
  7. You may have overindulged in food and/or drink during the holidays and now when you get on the scale you feel guilty, inadequate, and/or weak.
  8. Perhaps you’re disappointed by the holidays. It wasn’t what you had hoped for and now feel let down that they’re over.

Above are some of the reasons why the end of the holiday season may cause sadness, even depression in some. Below are some things you can do to help yourself.

Take some of what you made you feel good during the holidays and continue it into the days and months after the holidays. For example, if you enjoyed having lots of plans and looked forward to being out with others, make sure you make some plans now. Invite people over; it doesn’t have to be a formal event, you can just invite them to play games, watch a movie, or cook a meal with you.

Go to the movies, theater, or museums with others.

Start or continue your exercise routine. Think about doing your exercise with someone else a couple of times during the week so you have company and someone to look forward to being with.

If there were people you spent time with during the holidays who you really enjoyed and don’t often see, make plans with them. It’s not necessary to wait for holidays to see the people you enjoy.

Don’t beat yourself up if you gained weight. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you gained weight. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, worthless or irresponsible. It’s never too late to get back on track with your eating plan.

Have at least one thing planned in your week that you look forward to.

Be kind to yourself with respect to any New Year’s Resolutions you may have made. Instead of berating yourself for not sticking to your plan, make a plan that you can stick to. Perhaps your resolution was unrealistic. It’s always better to make a goal that’s attainable rather than one that’s too far off the mark.

Take care of your health, including eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

If you can’t shake the post-holiday blues, take a look at the information on my website about depression.

If you feel you are depressed you may want to call a mental health professional to get some help.

I wish you all a peaceful and healthy New Year.