Dealing with ‘Post-Holiday Blues’

When we enjoy a holiday, especially in the sun and often spending time with friends or family, we receive a boost of dopamine and serotonin—two feel-good hormones. But, when the holiday ends, so too does the mood boost. This can feel disorienting, and may trigger the post-holiday blues. The symptoms of the post-holiday blues—including sadness, lack of motivation, sleep disturbances, or irritability—can be similar to those of clinical depression, so it’s important to keep track of how long you’ve been feeling low after the holidays. If any feelings of post-holiday blues begin impacting your daily functioning, like making it hard to get out of bed, go to work or school, leave the house, spend time with others, or accomplish small tasks, it may be worth reaching out for help or talking to someone. How can we beat the post-holiday blues? (Or, at least, manage them better!) Here are some simple tips that can make a big difference.

Get enough sleep

It’s important to get enough sleep every day, not only to maintain mental health, but also to prevent chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and mental distress.

Eat a balanced and nutritious diet 

Relaxing during the holiday season can cause people to reach for higher-fat and higher-sugar foods—which can then cause even more stress or anxiety. In order to maintain healthy eating habits during the holidays—and in the days after—try to add or substitute healthier foods, including fresh fruits and veggies, to your meal plan

Avoid alcohol and drugs

If you’re feeling sad or anxious, you may benefit from abstaining from drugs or alcohol, since both substances can make negative emotions feel stronger or harder to manage or make sense of.

Get in some physical activity

Holidays can lead people astray from their workout routines—but exercising regularly can ease symptoms of depression or anxiety. Choose activities you enjoy and maybe try exercising with family or friends.

Connect with friends or family 

Leaning on your friends and family can help you continue to feel connected and not alone. Close connections could also be useful in helping you navigate what you are going through.

Schedule activities in advance 

We all need something to look forward to after we’ve been away from work or home having fun and relaxing – so plan things in ahead of time.

Try something new

If you plan on making plans for future activities, you can stick to something tried-and-tested, like eating at your favourite restaurant or scheduling a game night with close friends. But you could also try a new activity on for size—like trying a new recipe at home or taking a dance class that you’ve been eyeing for a while. Go somewhere you’ve never been – this can really lift your mood while creating a whole load of new memories at the same time.

If you’re still struggling after all this, reach out for help. You’re never alone.

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