How to cope with the post-holiday blues

January 7, 2019

You’ve shared memories, enjoyed special meals, or spent quality time with loved ones. But, now that the holiday parties are over, you may be feeling down. Sometimes the blues come “out-of-the-blue” to fill the void.

The blues differ from depression in a number of ways. The blues:

  • Are a normal part of life due to stress and losses (depression isn’t);
  • Are temporary, normally lasting less than two weeks (depression lasts at least two weeks, and often longer);
  • Generally don’t affect your functioning and activities (depression does); and
  • Usually end without professional intervention (depression usually doesn’t without professional help).

Nonetheless, the blues need to be taken seriously since they can turn into depression if you’re not careful.

If you are feeling less happy, more anxious or irritable, lethargic, or less social, you may have the post-holiday blues.

Here are some ways you can overcome the post-holiday blues:

  • Get out of the house if you can; a change of scenery and activity are good for your mood
  • Make a schedule to give your day structure with built-in activities
  • Re-start activities that may have gotten sidelined by the holidays and try new ones if you like
  • Make of list of realistic resolutions for 2018
  • Stay in contact with family and friends throughout the year, not just during the holidays
  • Remember there’s more to the year than just the span of Thanksgiving to New Years
  • Make a budget to get back on track financially if your holiday expenses were higher than expected
  • Spring clean your space a few months early
  • Do things that make you feel useful and helpful to others
  • Treat yourself (in moderation)
  • Reminisce about positive memories
  • Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep

If you’re concerned about having the blues or if the symptoms mentioned above persist, you may want to talk with your doctor and/or contact Iona at (202) 895-9448 to learn more about our individual counseling services.


3 thoughts on “How to cope with the post-holiday blues”

  1. I endorse the point about leaving one’s apartment, indeed about going out of one’s apartment building. Fortunately, my building has a Fitness Center with treadmills, stationary bike, recumbent bike, elliptical trainer, weight machine, rowing machine, free weights, and a mat with a mirrored wall. I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of the National Zoo, and Rock Creek Park’s Melvin Hazen Trail is my back yard. There are many places to walk to. I try to get out at least once a day, especially when it is sunny. I usually plan outdoor activities for 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to avoid crowds. I try to get home before rush hour. I used to walk any time of day, but now I am sensitive to fall risk, so I plan accordingly. Since I retired, I have made use of activities at Iona Senior Services, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University, and I volunteer at the EverybodyWins!DC child literacy program.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. That’s wonderful that you manage to get outside most days (and that you have made use of Iona’s activities).

  2. This was inspirational. I admire your dedication to getting out regularly, and want to start imitating you starting tomorrow!

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