Psych Central

Post-Winter Holidays: Hibernation or Depression?

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Hibernation Isn’t Depression

But if you are simply feeling subdued and a little out of sorts after the holidays, if you are needing more solitude, if you are looking for quieter activities and enjoy cleaning out your desk more than hanging out in the break room for the next few weeks, maybe you aren’t suffering from depression at all. Maybe you are just responding to the cycle of nature. What looks like the blues may be your system insisting on a time for slowing down a bit and for doing internal creative work before the renewal of Spring.

If that’s the case, you don’t need medical or psychiatric attention. Instead, you need to embrace this time and allow yourself a little hibernation.

Do the things that help restore your energy and spirit. Eat right. Get to the gym if you love it. Go for walks if you don’t. Give yourself the gift of some alone time to think, to daydream, to read, or to just plain do nothing. Treat yourself to things that pamper you like a hot bath or a massage. Get out in nature. Really talk to a friend. Read to a child. Print out the pictures from your digital camera and put them in albums. Replace buttons. Stay away from crowds and from people who cause you stress. Spend time with the people who love you the most. Count your blessings.

You can be a good friend without being a party animal. You can take some time and space for personal recovery and reflection without being rude or lazy. By slowing down a bit and de-stressing, you’ll actually end up more productive, not less. By setting priorities, you can get important things done and still make room for some healthy hibernation.

Downtime Can Be Good Time

As you set your house back in order by putting away decorations and using up the last of the party food, consider taking the time to put your mind and spirit back in order too. The holidays are over. Downtime can be good time when you give yourself permission to rest, regroup, and re-energize. Spring, with all its energy and promise, will be here soon.

 

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, M. (2008). Post-Winter Holidays: Hibernation or Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/post-winter-holidays-hibernation-or-depression/0001314
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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