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Do you ever find yourself feeling particularly down in the cold months after the new year? You may not be able to explain the feeling, and it may not even be that noticeable, but it lingers.  Chances are, it is the post-holiday blues knocking at your door.  

Post-holiday blues are described in this article by Margaret Wehrenberg Psy.D., as a feeling of loss: “Overnight, you lose the sense of excitement, you lose the activities filling your time, you lose the involvement with other people. The highly anticipated moments are done.” After the holiday season, there isn’t much excitement or anticipation like there had been over the past couple of months.

Many things can cause post-holiday blues, and you are certainly not alone if you experience this seasonal letdown. According to this Bustle article by JR Thorpe, these blues are caused by a variety of things such as time spent with toxic relatives, “performing” for holiday events, recovering from sugary indulgences, etc.

Luckily, there are many ways to combat the pesky, post-holiday blues. Here are just a few ways to make these grey months a little brighter:

  • Get out of the house.

    • Whether this is taking a walk around the block or going for a drive, it is important to get out and about. Staying indoors at home for extended periods of time has become our new normal this past year, but never underestimate the power of a breath of fresh air. 

  • Talk to people!

    • Reach out and call someone or meet up with a friend for a socially-distanced hangout. It is important to have spoken conversations — not just text exchanges.

  • Teach yourself a new skill.

    • Improve on an already learned skill or start from scratch with a new one entirely. From physical skills like yoga or knitting to mental skills like overcoming trauma or setting intentions in your diet, GNL workshops are a perfect place to start.

  • Get active.

    • This can mean a variety of things: an at-home workout, a walk or hike, a trip to the gym, and so on. Getting active does not need to be a vigorous sweat session; all it really requires is for you to get up and moving, physically and/or mentally Customize your activities to your lifestyle!

  • Set attainable goals.

    • Plenty of us have been told not to dwell on the past, and setting goals is a great way to look forward. Start out simple and look for attainable goals that you can accomplish throughout the week. It will not only add some variety to the week but also help you get excited for the days ahead.

  • Practice gratitude.

    • Similar to setting goals, taking the time to reflect on what you are grateful for will help the days feel less monotonous and help you maintain a positive attitude. It’s a great practice to do in general. Journaling about your days, talking to a friend about the highs and lows of the week, and practicing gratitude are all helpful ways to remind you of the good things in life.

It is important to recognize and validate your feelings but not to dwell on them. Remember, you are not alone. Try some of these ideas to pick yourself up out of it!