How to Beat The Post-Holiday Blues

How to Beat Seasonal Depression and the Post-Holiday Blues
by Ryan Burch
Photos Bloguettes | December 26, 2016
“I don’t want to go back to work” — said every career woman ever after the holidays.
How many times have you caught yourself saying that? Or perhaps some other variation like, “I don't want it to end” or “Why can't I be off forever?!”

(Guilty.)

But who can blame us?

The holidays are a blast, measured in twinkly lights, sweet treats, and shiny new toys. Returning to work after vacation and taking on responsibility again can sound (and feel) like the ultimate buzz kill.

But we can’t be carb-loading, excessively-drinking, lazy bums forever. Nothing compares to the sweet solace of lounging on your parents' couch for days on end—but when reality calls, we have to find a way to get up, get through, and deal with seasonal depression or, more casually, those dreaded “holiday blues.”

So what’s the cure?

PICK UP A NEW SKILL

There’s nothing more exciting (and fulfilling) than developing confidence in an area that used to just make you nervous. 

What have you always wanted to try? What do you wish you could do better? Instead of tinkering around on social media when you have down time, seize every moment of this New Year to develop yourself in a greater way.
Instead of tinkering around on social media when you have down time, seize every moment of this New Year to develop yourself in a greater way.
Buy a Rosetta Stone language program, sign up for 30 days of yoga, attempt to build something, draw something, learn to be a better leader, reader, or public speaker. The resources are all around you to help you acquire new skills (or as my tech friend says, “Google yourself to greatness"). 

In short, make a resolution based on self-improvement and figure out how to stick to it. (BTW, we've got specific steps to do it.)

THE 3 Rs: REFOCUS AND RECHARGE WITH A STRATEGIC ROUTINE

Because the holidays are all about overindulgence, most of us fall away from our healthier habits—leading to dread and disappointment once we realize that we’ve got to get our butts back in shape.

The best way to refocus, recharge, and feel more positive? Sit down one or two days per week, and plan out your schedule for the following few days. Factor in all work, social, financial, and personal commitments, and strategize when and how to fit it all in—by the hour (but be realistic). 

If you are making it your goal to improve your health, your to-do list should include tasks that will help you remain consistent, such as best time to buy groceries, what nights to cook at home, when to prep your meals, best times to exercise, when to pick out new gym playlists, etc.

Carefully pre-planning your week will keep you from wasting time unproductively, and allow you to feel much more confident and in control of your life.

DO SOME GOOD: VOLUNTEER

Still feeling down?

One of the best ways to get through the slump of seasonal depression is to do something for others in need.

With all of life’s priorities, volunteering can be the last thing we make time for—but it’s by far the most rewarding.

Text a girlfriend right now, and ask if she’d be willing to volunteer somewhere with you if you're afraid of going it alone immediately. Think about what you’d like to change in the world, and look up a charity that aligns with your interests. It could be once a week, or even once a month—but every bit of your time helps.

PURGE!

Cleaning out your closet (or just reorganizing it) will give you a heightened sense of clarity and renewal as you face another new year.

I’m a huge fan of reselling my clothes at Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, Wasteland, or on Ebay. Another great way to spice up your closet is to hold a clothing swap. My girlfriends and I do this every few months, and it’s a great way to pick up new goods without spending a dime.

We connect memories to what we wear, and we draw confidence from what we wear as well. Purging, swapping, and reselling your clothes is an affordable and refreshing way to start anew, and it will give you something to look forward to each morning as well.

LAUGH

Figure out what makes you laugh, and make time for it regularly. Is it a sitcom that helps you go to bed happy? Is it going to a comedy show, inviting your girlfriends over for a spa night, or calling up your BFF back home who you can gab with for hours?

If you’re sad, you can easily counteract those feelings with laughter and positivity (the truest medicine for the soul). As humans, we tend to fall into bad moods when we feel unfulfilled, unsatisfied, bored, or disappointed. Commit time to making yourself smile. 

Treat Yourself 

It becomes harder to stick to new goals and routines if you’re bored in the process. Therefore, it’s critical to create your own system of rewards for every bit of progress and improvement that you make in each week.

Usually, I recommend non-food rewards, as viewing food as a "reward" can cause problems down the line. Once a week, treat yourself to something soothing, such as a mani/pedi, fresh flowers, a new candle, or a mini massage. Bring back the piggy bank if there’s something you really want—but can’t afford just yet.

Are you bummed about the return to the office? What do you do to counteract that old buzzkill feeling?