Do you ever struggle with the post holiday blues? The holiday season is always the busiest time of year for most people. With shopping, parties, school and work functions, family gatherings and more, there is anticipation, enjoyment and excitement throughout the month of December. As the holiday season winds down, all the presents have been opened, the parties are over, family has gone home, and the hustle and bustle of December ends, many are left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, lethargic and a little blue. It is not uncommon for many to experience mild to moderate post holiday depression after the holiday season ends. But you do not need to struggle this year if you do find yourself feeling depressed after the holidays. There are things that you can actively do to help yourself feel better as you move into the new year.
What are a few of the things that you can do to fight the holiday blues?
- Pamper yourself – Although there is much to enjoy during the holiday season, there is also an increase in stress and anxiety. After the stress of December, a day of self-care is definitely in order. Get a massage or a manicure. Sit around the house in your pajamas all day, give yourself permission to not have to make any decisions for a day, meditate, take a relaxing bath…anything that you can do to help yourself relax and feel more refreshed.
- Step into the light – Getting plenty of natural, full spectrum light not only increases vitamin D levels, but also increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, is the brain’s natural antidepressant, and releasing it can help to ease depression.
- Get some exercise – Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce depression and anxiety. Getting at least 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise helps to release endorphins, which are the body’s feel good brain chemicals. Exercise also boosts serotonin levels which act as a natural antidepressant.
- Catch some zzzz’s – the holiday season often brings with it late nights, and the stress of the holidays can affect the quality of sleep. Making sure that you are getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep can help you to fight off any post holiday blues you may experience.
- Laugh out loud – Laughter really is good medicine for the body and the mind. Laughing regularly reduces cortisol, the body’s stress chemical, and increases endorphins, which make you feel good. Watching a funny movie, playing with your children or laughing with a friend can all help you to feel better.
- Kick sugar to the curb – Most people tend to overindulge on sugary goodies during the holiday season. But processed white sugar is known to contribute to depression and can exacerbate the post holiday blues. Doing a sugar detox for seven days after the holidays allows you to cut out processed sugar from your diet, and this can significantly help boost your mood.
- Add in Omega-3’s – Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to brain health and are natural mood boosters. Add some walnuts, flaxseed or fish to your diet to boost levels of this important fatty acid.
- Get back on schedule – once the holidays are over, it is important to get back into a routine and get some structure back into your life. Getting back to work, and back on schedule helps to keep your mind off of how you are feeling and gives you something else to focus on instead.
- Get in some snuggle time – People don’t often recognize the power of human touch. Hugging someone for 20 seconds releases oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that when released, reduces stress and anxiety and allows you to feel more optimistic and more confident.
- Pick up a new hobby – go out and do something that you’ve always wanted to do. Learn to dance, start gardening, take up painting, or learn a new language. Find something new that you can do that fills you up, brings new meaning into your life and makes you feel good.
- Meditate – meditation is a great way to reduce stress and depression. Meditation allows you to quiet your thoughts. And since it is easy to dwell on negative thoughts and allow that negativity to snowball, quieting the mind gives you a break from that negative internal dialog and allows you to relax. Meditation also puts you into a state where you breathe more deeply, which helps to relax you, brings more oxygen into the body, reduces cortisol levels and can help to boost your mood.
If you find that you are struggling with depression and it lasts for more than two weeks, then contact an FDN Practitioner. They can help you to find out where you may be experiencing imbalance in your body and can put together a holistic protocol that can help you to feel better.