Want to avoid the holiday blues? Regardless of what you call the after-holidays-letdown, it can be a crummy way to cap off the holidays.
The good news is that you can set yourself up to avoid the holiday blues, or at least shorten how long they stick around, by putting some self-care into your holiday to-do list.
*This article may contain affiliate links. That means when you buy something using our link, we get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read more in our terms of service.
5 Ways to Avoid The Holiday Blues
For most of my adult life I’ve been the type of person to get the holiday blues after Christmas and the New Year. I get so excited and worked up for the fun, magical buzz, that when it dies down I’m left in a slump.
Luckily, I’ve been able to anticipate this cycle for the last couple of years and have started implementing tactics to avoid the holiday blues all together (or at least help me send them on their way faster).
Here’s what I do and what you may want to consider:
1. Stick to your routine as much as possible
Sometimes the holidays can feel like a weird warp zone where nobody knows just quite what day or time it is. This can make sticking to your routine (or at least parts of it) tough. But it’s worth finding a way to do it.
If you have a couple weeks off of work, are away visiting family or have a bunch of company you don’t usually have, your routine will automatically be thrown off. But, don’t completely derail it. Try to do your same morning routine. Even just showering and getting out of your PJs will help you with your routine.
If you regularly exercise, try to get some form of workout in, even if it is just at home for 15 minutes. Try eating around the same times – you get the idea. Whatever you can do to maintain some semblance of normal will be a huge help in avoiding the holiday blues after the company has left and the buzz dies down.
2. Plan your holiday food indulgences
A big part of my holiday blues come from eating so much crap. After a couple weeks of treats and snacks at any time of the day, including when I’m not even hungry, my body is sluggish and so is my mind.
As hard as it may be, you’ll set yourself up for success by planning your holiday food indulgences. You’ll likely know your holiday party schedule in advance and you can plan for those to be days you can treat yourself. Or, you can pick and choose which ones to let loose at based on how many parties you have.
Part of this will be evaluating how you’ve been eating leading up to the party and if your body will forgive you for a night of overindulgence.
I have realized that a huge part of the holiday blues for me is the mental state it puts me in. But, when I take better care of my body (i.e, nutrition and exercise) I’m way likelier to have a better mental state.
Recommendation: If you want to feel like you’re indulging without eating as much crap/sugar/calories, etc. try snacking on a healthier candy option. I personally LOVE Smart Sweets. Smart Sweets are a gummy candy supplier that makes bags of candy with only 3g of sugar and 90 calories per bag. I find they give me the satisfaction of candy without the guilt. They are a little on the pricier side (my local grocery store sells them for just under $4/bag) but they are wayyy better for you than a regular bag of gummy candy. You can also find Smart Sweets on Amazon (my personal fav is the fruity gummy bears).
3. Don’t wait for the New Year to start your resolutions
Resolutions can are tricky. I don’t personally put a ton of stock into new year resolutions as I believe you can make changes at anytime. But, the new year tends to bring out the good part of us looking to improve. So, if it’s early December and you know what you want to start working on come the new year, don’t wait! Start working on your new year resolutions now.
Not only will this help you actually start your goals (and stick to them) but it will also help you build up a routine over the holidays that will help prevent you from having a holiday blues slump.
4. Realize at no point over the holidays is it too late to set boundaries
For some reason at Christmas time I think I have superpowers. All the fun parties and things to do often make me think I’ll all of a sudden have an unnatural ability to keep a spotless house, make hundreds of treats to bring to everyone I see and attend every party (while looking super cute).
More often than not this leaves me signing up for too much during the season and feeling worn down before Christmas day.
While you may have planned with the best intentions, you have to adjust based in reality. This means that come the time to do all these things and bake all these treats you might have to make some changes.
Maybe that means backing out of a party. (Don’t just text at the last minute, give your host some notice, and be honest about how you’re feeling.) Or, maybe you need to cut your visit with family short because you won’t have enough time to relax and recover before work starts up again. Heaven forbid, it might even mean that any treats you bring to parties this season are store bought.
Whatever it is, you have to get real with yourself and adjust your expectations and boundaries if things are becoming overwhelming. If not, you are definitely on the fast track to the holiday blues.
If you’re like me and sometimes have a hard time identifying when you’ve taken on too much, as your husband or a friend for help. They will likely recognize your tires spinning before you do so yourself.
5. Make some fun plans to look forward to in mid to late January
This suggestion might seem a little odd but having something to look forward to after the holidays helps me work around the holiday blues.
If you’re like me, your Christmas shopping happens throughout the year, Christmas baking and household decorating start in November and things are in full swing by December. After literally months of build up to the holidays, I leave myself hanging if I don’t have anything planned in January.
I’m not talking about continuing the craziness level and having something epic to look forward to. I am talking about something simple that doesn’t require a lot of prep work but will still be fun. Maybe it’s a girls night in, tickets to a show in your city or plans for a fun double date. Whatever it is, planning something and having something to look forward to really helps me avoid getting in a slump (…or at least helps me from being in there too long).
Looking to Avoid the Holiday Blues?
Now you know that the biggest favor you can do yourself over the holidays is to think about your wellbeing. You can set yourself up for success and avoid the holiday blues (or at least shorten the time they stick around) by trying out some self-care tips like the ones laid out above.
Have you ever experienced the holiday blues? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments below.