The holiday season is similar to taking a great vacation - it's a euphoric time that is all too fleeting. The glitz and glamour of decorations, holiday music, and elaborate store window displays make it seem like the world has become one big amusement park. Even in the cold, big city, strangers smile at each other on the street, and everyone is a little more generous with their time, money, and compliments. With all of that good cheer and goodwill, who wouldn't be sad to see the holidays end?
Holiday letdown is a common experience which, for some people, is only the start of the winter blues. This year, as you take down your decorations and address those thank you notes, why not take some steps to prevent that inevitable post-holiday "downer" and make the month of January something to look forward to? Here are seven steps to help you beat the blues:
1. Get Moving
One of the most effective ways to beat a mild case of depression is through exercise. When you are physically active, your body releases endorphins that help you to feel a sort of "high." Regular exercise helps to alter the chemicals in your brain, specifically serotonin, which will give you a greater sense of wellbeing.
Exercise does not have to be brutal. Skip that dreaded biking class in favor of a brisk walk with a friend, dancing in the living room with your kids, or even a yoga class. You may also want to get double benefit by exercising outside. January is one of the darkest months of the year and many people suffer from the "winter blues" due to lack of sunlight (also linked to serotonin). Why not take up an outdoor winter sport, such as skiing or ice-skating?
2. Make a Scrapbook
Relive the wonderful memories of your holiday by making a scrapbook. Either make a new one for every year or just add a few pages to one giant holiday scrapbook. Whichever you choose, making the scrapbook will help you appreciate the good times, and you can look back at it and smile on cold winter days.
Making a holiday scrapbook doesn't require a lot of time. Print out multiple digital photos on one sheet of paper, collect samples of the wrapping paper you used this year, and cut up the images from holiday cards. Jot down recipes from treats you made this year, add recollections about humorous or extra special things that may have happened, and include images from magazines and newspapers.
3. Hit the After-Holiday Sales
January is prime time for some serious retail therapy. After-holiday sales are everywhere throughout the month of January, as retailers try to get rid of items in order to avoid paying taxes on their inventory. Give yourself permission to spend a little, and you will actually save money on items you already need or want.
4. Plan Your Spring or Summer Vacation
Nothing takes your mind off of holiday letdown better than planning a vacation. Go online now and order brochures from every destination that interests you. Once that final box of decorations is stowed away, you can immediately dive into those glossy treasures you collected and plan the next exciting getaway. Rent some travel DVDs or look at photos of your past vacations for inspiration.
5. Make New Post-Holiday Traditions
Part of the fun of the holidays is the ritual of it all - something you do every year that usually involves your whole family. This year, start a new tradition for the weeks following the holidays, and get the whole family involved. Perhaps you could have an annual film festival at home or plan a service project to keep the holiday spirit of giving alive.
Remember to keep the planning of the new traditions to a minimum until after the holidays. You have enough to do with getting ready for your holiday traditions, and if the preparation for your new traditions seems too burdensome, you are less likely to actually do them.
6. Take Some Time to Relax
The holidays are a busy time for everyone, and you probably could use some R and R. Your kids may need some quality time with you, as their emotional needs often get set aside when you are racing to complete all of your prep tasks. Your husband, often in the same boat as you, may feel like a distant stranger after you get through the logistical challenge of the holidays. Why not schedule some time for the two of you to reconnect?
Finally, don't forget about time to just kick back and focus on your own rejuvenation. Plan a visit to the salon for some pick-me-up highlights, have a leisurely lunch with a dear friend - even an extra-long bath can work wonders.
7. Make Plans for Next Year
If you just can't shake those post-holiday blues and long for your twinkle lights and holiday treats, why not get started on plans for next year? Browse through recipe books for ideas, start on holiday crafts, and stock up on decorations at those closeout sales. The next season is only about 300 days away...
By using one, several, or all of the seven tips you can beat holiday letdown for good! Soon, you'll happily set the tree outside for recycle pick-up, because you know there will be plenty of good times ahead.