While it is true some people may feel down during the holidays because they don’t want to see certain family members, go to a crowded mall, or shovel the driveway, others feel sad after the holidays after over.
Out of town relatives have now gone home. You have gained some weight from overeating. You received your credit card statement in the mail. And you have to return to your daily routine, which includes going back to the office. Any of these can trigger post-holiday depression.
Some of the emotions you may be experiencing include:
- Denial: It’s early in the morning, and you’re wrapped up snugly and practically cocooned in your duvet. And then there goes the alarm, blaring at you to remind you that you’re a peasant and must leave your warm nest and get ready for work. You try to cope by denying it’s time to get up, but sadly you give up after the third time you hit the pesky snooze button.
- Shame: Oh god, you catch sight of your tummy and chin in mirror and take a moment to ponder in amazement at just how much weight you’ve managed to gain. You are shocked despite the fact you’ve been putting away a box of cookies daily.
- Dread: As your work load explodes, you decide that perhaps deciding to leave all those annoyingly complex tasks to deal with in the first week back probably wasn’t the best idea.
There are several steps you can take to avoid falling into a depression, and allow you to take on 2016 feeling great and confident.
- Be honest with your workload when you return to work. Accept that you will have devote a chunk of time to tackling your email inbox. A thankless but necessary task. If your entire office had a two week break, you might be lucky enough to be in the double figures. Once you’ve shouldered this, it’s easier to prepare for the week ahead.
- Continue spending time around people. Some of the post-holiday season blues might be related to having been around many people over the Christmas break and then suddenly finding yourself surrounded by people you don't know that well, or even not by many people at all. Lift your spirits by continuing to stay connected with friends and family, and getting out and about to do activities where other people interact with you.
- Don’t make outrageous New Year's Resolutions. If you set the bar too high, you will feel disappointed. Take a realistic approach to resolutions to ensure they are achievable. Taking weight loss as an example, targeting for a size zero is unrealistic, but looking for 1 pound loss in a span of week seems to be more achievable.
- Eat healthy and exercise. After the many indulgences over the holiday period, it can leave you feeling bloated and out of shape. Eating well and keeping up regular exercise will enhance your mood and help you return to good shape and fitness levels. Some mood-boosting foods to stock up on are those containing B vitamins (which help the brain produce serotonin) such as wholegrains, nuts and marmite, and those containing Omega-3 fatty acids (which can help lift depression), such as oily fish or flaxseeds.
- Have something to look forward to to relieve the monotony of your daily routine. Depending on your budget and lifestyle, this could be anything from planning a night out