Now that we’re smack in the middle of the holiday season, with only one more week until Christmas, and two more until New Year’s, anticipation is at a fever pitch. Did you buy the perfect gifts for everyone on your list? Is dinner at your home going to be a success? Will Dad and Uncle Joe agree to not discuss politics for one single afternoon? How long will the dog be able to resist humping Grandma’s leg? All good questions that will be answered in due time.
Even if dread is part of the anticipation for you, there can be a serious let-down after the holidays. All this work, all this preparation, all this present-buying, grocery shopping, and madness-making, and then…nothing. It’s over, and there’s nothing but the cold winter stretching ahead in front of us. It’s hard to avoid buying into the belief that whatever holiday celebration you’re attending or hosting will be THE BEST TIME EVER, so after it’s done, it feels like there’s little to look forward to.
So how can you avoid or lessen the post-holidays slump? Being aware that you’ll probably feel a little bummed is tremendously helpful. Take some time to actively accept this before it arrives. As you prepare for the holidays remind yourself, yes, after I see my nieces open their gifts and everyone has gone home and I have an empty house…I’ll probably feel a little sad. That way when it happens, it’s not a shock–you predicted this would happen and it did! Good on you.
It also helps to make low-key plans for the days and weeks following New Year’s. That may sound counter-intuitive if you feel overwhelmed by the holidays and you just want a break. But going from crazy-busy to an empty calendar can really cause you to crash. That’s why it’s important that the plans be low-key. Schedule a massage. Designate an evening with your sweetie to see one of the many movies that are out this time of year. Sign up for a weekly yoga class that gets you out of the house (bonus if they heat the studio–you’ll get a little lift from all that warmth and humidity).
Related to plan-making is goal-making, which is another important part of dealing with a post-holiday winter slump. Your goals don’t have to be huge, and they certainly don’t have to be the same old New Year’s Resolutions we hear about every January–eat better, work out more, resolve debt, blah, blah. What about things like finally organizing that spare bedroom closet that threatens to explode with unworn clothing, off-season wreaths, and abandoned sewing supplies every time you open the door? Or you could begin a new knitting or craft project. Make a goal of teaching yourself to bake bread from scratch. Your goals should be things that will nurture you, things that will give you a sense of satisfaction and renewal when you complete them.
Preparing yourself for the slump, making fun plans, and focusing on goals in the New Year will give you that little extra padding you need to make it through. Also giving you a little extra padding? The pecan pie, peanut butter blossoms, turtle cheesecake, and raspberry thumbprints that people keep bringing to the office. Yummy….