Do you hear that sound? What sound, you ask? The sound of calm after the holidays. The moment when we realize the guests have left and the errands are complete. The moment when we finally look around and notice all we have missed while immersed in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays.
Personally, the days immediately following New Year’s Day are mixed emotion days for me. The first couple weeks of January, I relax in the glow of Christmas and the expectation of new beginnings. Yet, mingled amid my joyous feelings, there is a feeling of sadness as I realize that the holiday season has ended and normal life has returned.
Since I was a young child, I have loved the period from Halloween to New Year’s because of the festivities, the traditions, the foods, smells, and sights. Yet it seems that as soon as Halloween is upon us, in a flash, we are past New Year’s Day.
As I sit writing this post, I wonder where it all went. I think back to the preparations, excitement, anticipation, expectation, then the joy of Christmas’s arrival — now what? What’s left? How did this season get away from me so quickly?
I don’t believe that I am alone in my emotions, nor do I need to be a counselor to understand why many of us feel a post-holiday letdown. Here are some actions I do for myself to cope with my feelings this time of the year. I hope they will help you, too:
- Spend a moment each day closing your eyes, slowing your breath, and focusing on your feelings. Whatever you are feeling, feel it, reflecting on the feeling’s origin.
- If you find yourself experiencing the holiday blues, don’t hide or ignore those feelings. Acknowledge them to yourself and others. Many people are feeling the same way.
- Recall the parties, family gatherings, people you met, family members with whom you reconnected. Recall the memories, not from the perspective that it’s over, but that it happened. How did those encounters affect you or change you? What can you take away from these encounters? Might you have made new friendships? Connect with the new friend. Did you meet distant family members? Develop a plan to stay in touch in a meaningful way.
- Recall your fondest and favorite memories of this holiday season. How do those memories make you feel? Take that feeling and find a way to make the feeling last into the new year.
- Make a conscious effort to find a way to make Christmas spirit and meaning last into the new year. If we can do that, then there is no longer a need for the holiday blues, since the holiday never will truly end.