Post Holiday Blues
by Steve Wodka, Psy.D. x 313

Typically, the winter months can be emotionally difficult for individuals, for a variety of reasons. People can be drained from the Christmas time hustle and bustle, and often impacted by unresolved family dynamics that might be revisited during holiday celebrations, interactions, and expectations.

Coupled with typical January weather, the decreased sunlight experienced during this time of year can also affect those susceptible to seasonal affective disorder creating an exacerbation of depressive symptoms. Activity levels are typically down as people spend less time outdoors because of the harsh weather. The timing of all of these factors can create a recipe for depression and other emotional reactions.

What to do:

  • Develop a post-holiday "game-plan." Recognize what your reactions were during the holidays and acknowledge your feelings.
  • Re-align expectations and develop achievable goals to meet next holiday season, especially goals regarding interactions.
  • Take care of your body. Take time to get out in the sunlight, exercise, make sure you get enough sleep, & adopt healthy nutrition habits, etc.
  • As you would take care of your body, take care of your emotional health via communication of your feelings to a supportive network of friends or family, don't neglect your emotions.
  • Don't give up because it's winter! Make attainable resolutions. Have fun, become involved in winter sports, plan activities to look forward to, and don't isolate. Laugh!
  • Utilize therapy, or get a "check-up" by seeing your therapist to deal with post-holiday blues.