Overcoming Post-Holiday Blues

The holidays are often a whirlwind of activity and emotion involving a busy schedule of shopping, school programs and get-togethers with friends and family. If you experience an emotional disappointment when the holidays pass, there are many things you can do to lift your mood and make it through the emotional let-down after the holidays.

These strategies will boost your spirits and get your New Year off to a great start:

  1. Take advantage of the extra time you now have for yourself. Since the holiday hullabaloo is over, you have some time to reflect. What do you like about your life? What would you like to change?
  2. Think about small goals you’d like to accomplish. Do you want to finally get that hall closet cleaned out? Maybe you can now complete that special project your boss has wanted you to do.
    • It’s a good time to make a list of all those little tasks you want to get done. Having the list will help you concentrate on your goals. Plus, it’s wonderful to draw a line through an achieved goal.
  3. Focus on you for a change. Now is the time to hone in on personal desires and goals. Perhaps you want to exercise more or spend more quality time with your children. Ponder how you might go about making the changes you seek. Think of taking little steps toward your big goals.
  4. Pursue an interest. We’ve all got those interests we hope to “get to” someday. Since you’ve got some down time now, why not go for it? Delve in to that subject you’ve been curious about or start the photography class you’ve longed to take.
    • If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, do some research. Visit your local library, browse some magazines or look in the newspaper. You’ll most likely find a couple of topics or activities you’d like to learn more about.
  5. Have a dinner party. You’ll have plenty of time to plan and prepare for this event with people you really care about. You’ll enjoy yourself and your mood will lift.
  6. Renew and refresh your surroundings. Do you feel like re-arranging the furniture in a room or two? Maybe you want to paint the walls or make new curtains. Re-decorating your surroundings is a wonderful way to go in to a new year and banish the holiday blues at the same time.
    • Re-focusing on your surroundings and thinking about any changes you want to make will help you de-focus from the doldrums.
  7. Re-connect with an old friend. There’s something so wonderful about making that call you’ve wanted to make. Hearing your friend’s voice again will bring great joy to your heart. It might be a friend from the old neighborhood, a former college roommate or a past co-worker you were once great friends with.

If you’re feeling down now that the holidays are behind you, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll begin to rise above those post-holiday blues when you try some of these strategies.

Taking some quality time for yourself during this period can lighten your mood immensely and ignite your excitement about the year ahead.

Take the Stress Out of Holiday Travel

If you believe the lyrics to “Jingle Bells,” people used to laugh all the way during their holiday travels. Today, getting to grandma’s house may be a little more complicated, but there are still ways you can make it less stressful.

Try these holiday travel tips and sample meditation to make your trip more enjoyable.

Stress-Free Holiday Traveling

  1. Give yourself plenty of extra time. Staying calm is easier when you give yourself plenty of lead time. Leave the house a little earlier than usual.
  2. Expect to run into snags. That extra time will come in handy if you miss a connecting flight. Keep an extra change of clothes with you in case some luggage gets lost.
  3. Pack light. If possible, ship your gifts directly to the recipients so you have fewer suitcases to wrangle. Get in the habit of using a single carry-on bag.
  4. Travel during off-peak hours. Early mornings, late nights, and the middle of the week may be less crowded. Shorter lines are a great way to reduce stress and weariness.
  5. Start out well rested. You can manage everything better after a full night’s rest. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep before your trip. Take an afternoon nap if you’ve got a late flight ahead.
  6. Bring healthy snacks. Skip the fast food at the airport. A protein bar or a bag of homemade trail mix with nuts and dry cereal will give you more nutrition and energy.

  7. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Take it easy with the free cocktails. Flying is dehydrating, so alcohol and caffeine aggravate the effects. They can also make it more difficult to meditate. Drink more water instead.
  8. Use portable meditation props. Airlines generally disapprove of lighting up incense but will welcome less intrusive props. Bring a string of wooden beads you can use for counting or load a favorite image onto your smart phone or tablet.

Sample Meditation for Holiday Travel

  1. Get into position. Sit up straight and relax your shoulders. Take deep breaths from your abdomen. Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on your breath.
  2. Think about your destination. Picture your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting. Mentally greet them and describe to yourself the good times you’ll share. Think about what’s for dinner and the gifts you’ll exchange.
  3. Expand your thoughts to those around you. Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans. Think about all you have in common. Make believe that you’re all sharing a loving and joyous celebration.
  4. Focus on your new holiday mood. Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and rest your mind in that warm feeling. If other thoughts begin to interfere, retrace your steps to bring that positive sensation back.
  5. Dedicate your good feelings. Pretend you can wrap up those good feelings in a box and present them to everyone around you. Pay special attention to those who may be experiencing less fortunate circumstances.

  6. Gradually return your attention to the present moment. Bring yourself out of meditation slowly. Take notice of your body and the objects around you while trying to keep a relaxed mind.

  7. Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating. There may still be lost luggage or missed connections ahead. When you encounter a hitch in your plans, think about how good you felt while meditating and use those thoughts to maintain your composure.

Holiday travel can be challenging, but you can make it easier on yourself. Plan ahead and use simple meditations to lift your spirits and enjoy more peace of mind.