So… you’ve got seasonal sadness (or Christmas blues) too?
What even is seasonal sadness? Not to mention Christmas blues? It can be described as the biggggg low after the holidays. And it totally makes sense. I mean think about it. You’ve spent your last 6 weeks (if you count Thanksgiving in on this) eating (mostly) what you wanted, spending without much care, seeing those people you really value, and becoming more aware of your spirituality—whatever that may be. It’s been a time of absolute joy!!! So many giggles, snuggles, road trips, the sounds of wrapping paper bring rightfully ripped to shreds. I could just cry out of excitement thinking about it! <3
But then this morning came.
Your tree might still be up, but the presents are gone. The lights still glow, but the conversation is minimal. Your gifts are all being used, but your bank account is hurting from the high. So what do we do in this awkward week??
Ya know.. this week with a big lull before we are really motivated to make the big changes that happen on January 1st?
We actively fight these blues.
You might not be comfortable calling it depression. There was a time when I thought very differently about what to call this seasonal sadness, but whatever you decide to call this feeling—you deserve to actively fight it.
So here are 5 ways you can fight your seasonal sadness:
1) Take this time to simplify your life.
You’ve exhausted a TON of social energy over the last month, and your body and mind need rest. Simplify relationally to give yourself the social rest you deserve. Make a list of the top 3 people in your life that make you feel uplifted—and only spend your extra social energy with them. Sure, we’ve got to go to work and see our coworkers, but we can limit our free time being spent on what might otherwise be just a shallow engagement we feel we have to keep. Push off that coffee date with your acquaintance until the New Year, and spend the next week digging deep with those 3 relationships you really value. Or simply staying quiet in the room with them. You deserve to be yourself and expend only the energy that gives you a return on that energy. Watch a movie in silence. Chow down on that leftover Christmas popcorn. And just be.
2) Spend time being active outdoors.
Oh yeah. You knew this was coming. But studies show being active over an extended period of time can be just as effective as seeing a professional counselor when done routinely. Get a kick start on your New Year’s fitness resolutions without pressure by vowing, “I’m going to hike twice this week.” You can do this by yourself for some quality reflection time or with someone you value to keep it light. Take extra care to hike or run somewhere with an amazing view or somewhere completely new. These vistas remind us of something important: we are really small people. When we recognize our own smallness in comparison to the universe, our problems shrink too.
3) Plan your next big trip!
You’re a big traveler!! And the commonality between every trip, no matter how you like to travel, is planning! After thinking through and processing some of your post-Christmas blues, strategically shift your focus to researching something fun like a new national park to discover!! And just go crazy here. One thing I do for fun when I’m feeling down is make up a number for my budget for a trip! Start really big—say $30,000. And plan the trip of a lifetime in that budget. Then decrease your budget by 25% and plan the same trip in that budget. Research flights, AirBnb’s, restaurants, new gear, trails, anything you can imagine, and write it all down. Do this until you have actually planned a trip in your current adventure budget! This is a great way to strategically distract yourself from woes and transition into hopeful thinking. And the best part is—you can actually go on this adventure! So if you’ve got your flight or lodging money book it! And use the excitement of your trip to keep you uplifted!
4) Write down your thoughts.
This step is crucial and deserves the bulk of your bounce-back time. While you’re feeling low you probably have thoughts in your head as to why: i.e. now I’m broke, I’ve gained 5 pounds, all my family is gone and now it’s just me sitting in this sad house, etc. Do something really simple—write these thoughts down. Make a list of reasons why you’re feeling low. And if you don’t have a list and you just simply are sad—write that down. No, seriously. It’s okay to write, “I’m sad, and I don’t know why.” There is so much power and healing in that sentence. Set aside time tonight or in the morning (the two times of the day when we are most in tune with emotions), and write whatever comes to your mind concerning your sadness.
5) Talk with someone you trust.
Remember that writing down you just did? It is even more powerful to ask a friend—”Hey. So I’m feeling down after Christmas, and I’d like to read you something. You don’t have to respond, and you don’t have to try and fix it. I just want to be heard.” Friends need that honesty sometimes on how to listen well, and you need the freedom to voice aloud what is bugging you. It is essential to express yourself to someone whom you know will offer no judgement—just a listening ear. You can offer to be a listening ear for them as well. It’s kinda like being outside—it can remind of how small we really are.
So whatcha think?
Are these easy enough? Can even one of these give you a little motivation to not lose hope during this awkward season? It can! Just taking one of these steps and implementing them can give you a great peace and a great stepping stone to recovering from this seasonal sadness. And as always, please share if you think you know someone who may need an extra boost! And be that listening ear for them.