10 Ways to Beat the Post-Christmas Blues
The period just after Christmas can be a depressing time for many of us, as we struggle to ease ourselves back into the daily grind of everyday life. A combination of debt, anti-climax, poor weather, short days and weight gain can all contribute towards a feeling of malaise and melancholy.
However with a positive mental outlook and a few simple actions the post-Christmas blues can be easily overcome, leaving you free to face the New Year with renewed vigor. Here are 10 top tips for beating the post-Christmas blues:
1. Try something new. Post-Christmas is a time that often seems devoid of any excitement. That is unless you make this the time of year for new projects and personal development. A commitment to try one new thing every week will move you out of your comfort zone and provide a sense of satisfaction or even exhilaration as you develop new skills. This need not be a dramatic change to your lifestyle – it could be something as small as learning to swim, taking up a new hobby or learning a new language. No matter what you choose, it should be enjoyable, help you alleviate the mundane aspects of everyday life and keep your morale high.
2. Plan for the future. The sense of anti-climax following the excitement of Christmas can be overwhelming for some. The best way to combat this is to make some definite plans for the next few weeks and months, giving you something to look forward to. For example, a holiday, a sporting event or even just a night out will help stop you from thinking about what has just been, and get you thinking about the future.
3. See the funny side of life. Depression is often due to a temporary imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The balance can be restored with laughter – strange though it may sound, laughter causes the release of endorphins by your body which act on centers of the brain responsible for your mood. By laughing regularly, you’ll be much less likely to experience negative thoughts and depression. Take some time out to watch comedy shows or movies, share a joke with friends and try to laugh at life’s problems whenever possible.
4. Exercise. Although it may be difficult to find the motivation, exercise is a great way to promote a positive mood and prevent depression. Regular exercise helps to release endorphins (the same chemicals released during laughter) that generate a feeling of well-being and mild euphoria. This need not involve a big change to your lifestyle. Simply going for a short run or attending a yoga or aerobics class once or twice a week is enough to provide a more positive mental outlook.
5. Pay attention to your diet. After the over-indulgence of Christmas, now comes the time for dieting. Many people adopt a crash diet after Christmas, with a view toward losing weight quickly. However, the emphasis should be on a diet that promotes healthy eating and can be sustained for the rest of the year rather than simply as a means of losing a few pounds. Foods to include in your post-Christmas diet include those that play an important role in brain biochemistry. Include nuts and whole grains in your diet, as they contain serotonin (a neurotransmitter), which is known to help fend off depression.
6. See the light. Many of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this time of year. People affected by SAD typically suffer from depression and lethargy as a result of lack of natural light. This can be remedied with a SAD light, which can recreate spring/summer light exposure levels. This may be worth investing in if you feel that low light levels are the cause of your blues.
7. Think of others. If you find yourself becoming self-absorbed and fixated on your own problems, take some time to focus on others. Commit to helping a worthy cause through volunteer work or fundraising activities. By helping others, we can often see our own situations with different perspective and appreciate our good fortune despite the immediate feelings of despondency.
8. Socialize. Spending time with friends can be a great antidote for the post-Christmas blues. Make the effort to be as proactive as possible – get on the phone and arrange a social event with a few close friends. Join a new club or take up a new hobby where you’re likely to make more friends and get involved in the events they offer.
9. Deal with finances. Many people experience depression after Christmas because they refuse to face up to the reality of their financial situation. Burying your head in the sand is never an effective solution to financial problems and Christmas is no exception. Although it may be the last thing you want to do, it’s essential that you take stock of the expenses you’ve incurred over the holiday season and take the necessary steps to plan for the forthcoming year. By working out a way forward, you can feel more in control and reduce the stress caused by uncertainty.
10. Change. The prospect of returning to your regular routine can seem depressing at the end of the Christmas season. If this is the case, it may be time to consider changing your lifestyle or even career. Try to look objectively at what needs to be changed and make a resolution to change these things over the next year. Having a plan for change provides a sense of empowerment and positivity for the future.