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How to Beat the Post-Christmas Blues

Updated on February 18, 2012

Christmas is over. The house is strewn with empty boxes, tissue paper, and toys. The kitchen is full of leftovers and dirty dishes. There are no more parties to go to, no more presents to wrap, and no more cookies to bake. After weeks of excitement and anticipation, there is nothing else to look forward to. If you are feeling some post-holiday sadness, you are not alone. But don't worry, there are some simple things you can do to help yourself feel better. (Thankfully, the post-holiday blues are usually short-lived. If you feel sad or depressed for longer than a few days, or if you are having trouble functioning normally, call your doctor.)

1. Play with Your New Toys

If you (or your children!) received some fun gifts for Christmas, start using them! Did you get a great new video game? Did Santa bring your kids some new board games? Did you get a book of crossword puzzles? If there are new toys in your house to play with, start playing! Yes, there is probably a lot of work to do around the house (the Christmas tree is really shedding its needles and should be taken out!), but it's important to take some time to play. If you have kids, spend a few hours sitting on the floor with them playing with their new toys. After all, the best part of Christmas is being able to act like a kid again.

2. Start a Project

If you have some time off after Christmas, start a project. It's a good time to clean out your closet--perhaps to make room for all those new clothes you got from Santa. Taking on a project at home is a good way to feel busy and productive. But be sure to do something that you can actually finish. Pick one small area to clean up - like the refrigerator, a closet, or one section of the basement. Don't make the project too big and overwhelming, or you may not be able to finish it. This could lead to even more hopelessness and sadness! Pick something that you can finish in a few hours. The sense of accomplishment will help to lift your spirits.

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3. Consider Un-Decorating Early

If the sight of the dying Christmas tree in your living room is bringing you down, de-Christmasizing your house sooner rather than later may help you feel better. Some people like to leave their Christmas decorations up until the New Year, or even until "Little Christmas" on January 6. But you might actually benefit from clearing the decorations out a few days earlier than usual. Getting the house back to "normal" can help you feel refreshed and ready for the new year with a clean slate and a clean house.

4. Spend Time Outdoors

Even if you live in a cold climate, bundle up and get outside. The fresh air (and hopefully a little sunshine) can do wonders to lift your mood. With the busyness of the holidays, you probably haven't spent much time outside. Take a walk. Sit in the backyard with a cup of hot cocoa. You may not feel like doing it, but force yourself to go outside for at least a few minutes. If weather permits, try going outside bare-footed. It may feel silly, but the cold ground on your bare feet can wake your senses and help you feel better.

5. Start Planning for Next Year

If this year's Christmas season was stressful, start taking steps now to plan better for next year. Holiday planning can be very stressful (see my hub on this topic) so why not make some notes for next year while everything is still fresh in your memory? Make a list of all the tasks you had to do this year and create a timeline for next year. There's no reason to wait until the last minute when planning for Christmas. For example, you can write Christmas cards months ahead of time, bake early and put everything in the freezer, and buy gifts months in advance. Putting it all down in a timeline can help you feel a sense of calm and control going into the new year.

Christmas has its ups and downs - there is anticipation and stress, often followed by a "let-down." These emotional highs and lows are normal, but if you want to feel better quickly, take some time for yourself.

Sage Carter shares ideas, information, and advice for better living. Visit her at http://sagecarter.hubpages.com/.

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    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 5 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      These are quite practical tips! Especially the "start planning for next year." There are so many creative ways to celebrate Christmas -- I know I have a gift of a story for each of my kids to make and I need to start now to finish by next Christmas!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I like that one as well. I had an idea for a Christmas related hub that I didn't get around to writing. Maybe I should do it now so I'll have it in my pocket for next year.

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