You’ve enjoyed the food, opened the presents and felt a whole lot of love. So why do the days after Christmas leave you feeling so deflated?
Christmas is a time that so many of us look forward to, but once it passes, we can experience a dip in our mood.
“There are a few reasons why this can happen, with one prevalent cause being a sense of post-Christmas burnout,” Sophie Cliff, aka the joyful coach, tells HuffPost UK.
“We spend the last few weeks of December rushing to meet deadlines, socialising more than usual and over-exerting ourselves as we hunt for the perfect gifts, and at the same time, we tend to reduce the time we spend meeting our own needs or caring for our health, which can result in a bit of lethargy at best, and a sense of feeling completely rundown at worst.
“Another reason why we can experience a Christmas countdown is because we expect to – it’s drummed into us that January is the worst month of the year, and as a result, many of us start feeling blue before the new year has even rolled around.”
But it is possible to reset this mindset, shake off the Christmas comedown and get excited about the new year ahead. Drawing on her expertise as a positive psychology practitioner, Cliff shares five key steps:
1. Write a joyful January bucket list
For many of us, the reason we feel blue once Christmas has passed is because we expect the coming weeks and months to be miserable. But that doesn’t have to be the case – challenge yourself to write a joyful January bucket list filled with activities that make you happy, and commit to working your way through it.
2. Focus on topping up your energy
Christmas (and the weeks that precede it) can be incredibly draining, so one way we can avoid the post-festive period comedown is to really focus on putting some energy back in the tank. Rest is an important part of this, but also think about the other things that top you up – it could include getting outside, pursuing creative activities or filling your inspiration cup with a good book.
3. Embrace the return of routine
Routines don’t sound very exciting, but the truth is, our brains like stability and security, so getting back into a good routine can help us to feel good. You don’t have to go from 0-100 overnight, but getting back to basics will help to ease any lows you might be experiencing.
4. Stay connected
Research tells us that connection is the biggest predictor of joy and happiness, and once the Christmas parties and get togethers are over, some of us might feel a little more isolated. If that’s the case, make a real point of trying to stay connected to your loved ones once the festive period is over - even just an odd text or FaceTime here and there can help.
5. Look for the good
Finally, instead of looking at all the reasons why Christmas being over is a bad thing, challenge yourself to look for the positives. Maybe you have more time to dedicate to the things you love, or perhaps you’re looking forward to the fresh start of the new year. Maybe you’re excited to feel a little more well rested, or perhaps you’re ready to embrace the freedom that comes with a quieter season. Whatever it is, actively looking for the good will help you to bounce back from those post-Christmas blues more quickly.