How I Cope With Post-Holiday Depression
Do You Ever Feel Sad When Christmas is Over?
I really look forward to the Christmas season every year. If you're like me, this is a time to be with family and friends and enjoy some of the best things life has to offer: holiday lights, good food, a beautiful Christmas tree, holiday decorations, baking goodies, Christmas caroling, perhaps a candlelight service at church or a Christmas tea with your ladies' Bible study, or maybe a nativity scene in your front yard or a Christmas play. These things are so unique to this time of year, and it's something fun and meaningful to look forward to all year long.
So I guess, if you really think about it, it's only natural that one might feel a little bummed, perhaps even depressed, once this season is over. If you're like me, taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations can feel a little disheartening. It leaves me wondering, "What's next? What do I have to look forward to now?" Of course there's always New Year's Eve, but if you're like me and you have kids, getting out to a New Year's Eve party is not as easy as it once was, and neither is staying up until midnight!
Keep the Decorations Up, If Possible, Until the New Year
One thing that I think really helps ease the sadness of Christmas being over is to keep the holiday decor up until the New Year, if you can. This year, we had to take down our tree right away, because it just so happened that we got it the day after Thanksgiving and it was getting a little -- shall we say -- crispy. However, we usually try to leave our Christmas tree up for as long as possible after the holiday is over, so we can still enjoy the spirit of the season.
The year my son was born, we kept Christmas lights up on our balcony for a long time after the day had passed, simply because he loved looking at the lights (as all newborns invariably seem to!). So, if possible, keep your holiday decorations up so you can keep the joy of Christmas alive for a little while longer. Then, by the time the New Year rolls around, you'll most likely be more than ready to move on and take everything down.
Keep Listening to Christmas Music
I love listening to Christmas music on my iHeart Radio app on my phone. I also love listening to my Christmas CD's in my car, or on the radio. I don't stop listening to Christmas songs on the day after Christmas, because I love it so much and I like to make the season last. So, if you're like me and you don't want to stop listening to your beloved Christmas songs, then ... don't! Who says you have to, anyway? Really, you can listen to Christmas music anytime of the year (I know I do sometimes!)
Make a List of Things to Look Forward To
I know it sometimes doesn't seem like we have much on the horizon, but if you really brainstorm, there is always something exciting or happy to look forward to. This year, my hubby took the tree down the day after Christmas because it was a crispy fire hazard—and I really couldn't think of much to look forward to. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have so much to be grateful for and so many wonderful things ahead of me. I had forgotten (momentarily) that my anniversary is on December 29th. So I have my anniversary with my hubby to look forward to, and that's definitely something special! I also have many years of memories to look forward to with my two sons, as I watch them grow year after year. Who knows what blessings may await us in 2017! So really, even though the bright lights and fun times of the Christmas season are drawing to a close, there is still so much to be thankful for if we take the time to focus our minds on what's true!
Make Plans with Friends or Family
For some reason, the end of the Christmas season can sometimes feel lonely and isolating. A fun time with family now seems to be ending. Days off from work are over, and everyone is going back to the "daily grind." That's why it's important to make plans to connect with friends and family again in the future. Today I made plans to have a waffle breakfast with a friend next week. I also made plans to meet up at the park with a neighbor soon. I didn't get to be with my parents or brothers this year for Christmas, but I had a really nice time with my in-laws. Still, we made plans to see my side of the family next year for Christmas. Making plans sets your mind on the future, and gives you something else to be excited about. Knowing that Christmas is over but that you'll still have fun soon interacting with family or friends, makes it easier to bear the ending of the season.
Think about Christmas Next Year
The nice thing about this wonderful holiday is that it will be back around next year. In just 11 short months, it will be Christmas once more! So think about what you'd like to do next year that you may not have gotten to do this year. Instead of thinking of it as a negative thing, plan to make the necessary changes so that you can do it next time.
For example, I plan to be more diligent in 2017 about saving up money in a Christmas fund. This fund will allow me to comfortably purchase gifts for my friends and family—and also have a little extra to do some fun activities with my family. If I want to buy us all matching pajamas, I'll be able to do that using some of the money from our Christmas fund. If I need cash to buy ingredients so we can bake for all the neighbors, I'll get it from, you guessed it, the Christmas fund! Next year I want to bake more, see more lights with my kids, and go to a candlelight service. Thinking about next Christmas and all the fun we're going to have makes me so joyful and excited. I can't wait!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.