How to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and Post-Holiday Blues

Have you ever felt like you’re “on the go” through the holidays, only to hit a speed-bump once they are over? Do you get down, feeling anxiety or depression? There are reasons that you’re experiencing post-holiday blues, but there are ways that you can bounce back and start the New Year off right.

Finding the “High” During the Holidays

For the last few months you’ve been focused on the holidays, but now that they are done do you feel as if there’s been a hole left behind? Some reasons for the post-holiday blues include:

  • Anticipating holiday travel or hosting at home
  • Reconnecting with family that you haven’t seen in a while, perhaps even for the whole year
  • Experiencing the joy of giving and sharing with others
  • Attending holiday events such as concerts, services, and other events

These experiences can be very rewarding, but once they are done you are left back to where you were before the holiday season started. In a way, you are coming off the “high” of the holidays, and are now in the “low” of the post-holiday blues.

Causes of Anxiety During the Holidays

Of course, if your holiday experience wasn’t very positive, that can have an effect on you too. For instance:

  • Having to associate with relatives that you find disagreeable
  • Getting into arguments with other family members
  • Having to negotiate holiday travel and all of the complications and stressors involved
  • Feeling “under the gun” to make sure you get gifts for everybody
  • Experiencing financial stress from purchase related to gifts, travel, food, and other expenses

Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful! Unfortunately, for many this time of year is not always the most peaceful time of year.

Facing Depression during the Holidays

Many of the above stressors, compounded together, can leave you feeling both tired physically and exhausted emotionally. Also, there may be other issues involved that are more likely symptoms of depression.  These can include:

  • Feeling like you don't measure up to an artificial standard that you set for yourself
  • Having a desire to fulfill others’ needs, but not your own
  • Experiencing the first holiday season without a loved one who has passed
  • Being reminded that this is a time of year to celebrate with family and friends, but not having anyone to celebrate with

How to Fend-Off the Post-Holiday Blues

There are ways that you can keep the post-holiday blues at bay. Consider these ideas:

  • Get plenty of sleep to stay rested.
  • With all the food available, avoid grazing and stick to sensible portions.
  • Exercise and stay physically active.
  • Take time for yourself, such as going for a stroll or reading.
  • Practice mindfulness skills such as breathing and meditation.
  • Approach interactions with troublesome relatives with patience and an open mind.
  • Take things one day at a time.
  • Stay organized with checklists and calendars to avoid getting overwhelmed.

The holidays don’t have to be an anxiety-provoking experience if you remember to take care of yourself.

Filling the Void of the Post-Holiday Blues

Even with these ideas, do you still feel an emptiness after the holidays? It can be rewarding to give to others, so why not make it a yearlong practice? Find an organization that connects with your values and volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and help others in need. Just make sure that you are taking care of yourself too!

What if I am Still Having Post-Holiday Blues?

If you are still struggling, consider seeing a therapist for depression counseling.  Counseling is a safe place for you to express what you’re feeling and better understand why you feel the way you do.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of anxiety and depression, leading to the post-holiday blues. By remembering to take care of yourself and, if necessary, obtain counseling, you can beat back the blues and embrace the new year!