Even with the holidays looking different this year, for those like you, there is still a lot on your plate. You’re decorating, buying gifts, cooking, taking photos, and connecting with family – even if it’s through Zoom. After all of this time preparing and connecting, the family departs, decorations come down, and your emotions could shift. Suddenly, you may be feeling lonely or even empty. These feelings can cause our brain to bring up other memories that’ve made us feel this way in the past.
When big events (like weddings, graduations, birthdays, and holidays) are finally over and all of the scrambling has subsided, you can be left feeling empty or even disappointed that things didn’t go the way you hoped.
This is known as the “Post-Holiday Blues.”
What Is It?
Although there isn’t a lot of research on the topic, there are several things that play into why Post-Holiday Blues happen:
- Dramatic decreases in adrenaline.
- The contrast effect/perception of differences is enhanced before and after major events. This is our brain’s way of recalibrating and reaching equilibrium.
- We’re emotionally exhausted from preparing for the holiday or navigating difficult situations or relationships.
- Changes in diet, such as added sugar and alcohol, can play a role in this down feeling.
Making the Best of 2021
Now, we have a new year coming, and with that, you may feel excited and motivated, or you may feel completely overwhelmed with how to make 2021 better than 2020 was. A new year can add a lot of pressure with fulfilling resolutions, and it’s even more so in 2021 as we strive to make things better.
What can we do about it?
- Identify it – This helps us understand it and regulate our emotions by putting it into context. It can remind you that these feelings have occurred in the past and have gone away as you settled into the new year.
- Give yourself grace – Positive self-talk will go much further than beating yourself up for feeling this way.
- Connect with people – Social interaction is a great stimulus for your emotions.
- Self-care – Getting quality sleep, eating nutritious foods, and exercising is always beneficial for your mind, body, and soul.
- Get outside – Go for a walk, get some fresh air, and connect with neighbors – even at a distance.
- Do things that bring you joy – Rearrange furniture to fill an empty corner, light candles with a new scent, or make your favorite meal. Avoid one that reminds you of the holidays and instead cook something that brings positive memories.
- Give back to others – Contributing to others is a great way to put things in perspective. When we do something that brings out positive emotions in others, it leads to us feeling good with a sense of purpose.
- Make plans – Get something on your schedule that you’ll look forward to. This doesn’t have to be a big lofty New Year’s resolution or goal. Plan something that will get you excited about the near future.
We’re Ready to Help
Whether you’re feeling the Post-Holiday Blues or something else, Rice Psychology Group can help. Our team of mental health professionals provides services via telehealth to keep everyone safe as we launch into the new year.