Do you hear that sound? What sound, you ask? The sound of calm after the holidays. The moment when we realize that most of the guests have left and the errands are complete. The moment when we finally look around us and notice all we have missed while immersed in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holiday.
Personally, the days between Christmas and New Years are mixed emotions days for me. I enjoy and relax in the glow of Christmas with the expectation of a new year and new beginnings; yet at the same time there is a sadness knowing that the holiday season is almost over. Since I was a young child I have loved the time from Halloween to New Years because of the festivities, the traditions, the foods, smells, sights, etc. Yet it seems that as soon as Halloween is upon us we are past New Years Day in a flash! As I sit and look at the Christmas tree I wonder where it all went. I think back to the preparations, excitement, anticipation, expectation, then the joy of Christmas’ arrival … now what? As I sit here and reflect I wonder what’s left? How’d this season get away on me so quickly again? Am I alone in these emotions?
I don’t need to be a counselor to understand the rationale for why many of us feel down after the holidays. Finding that rationale isn’t the point of this reflection. Rather, what do I do with myself and my feelings this time of the year?
1. Spend a moment each day closing your eyes, slowing your breath, and focus on your current feelings. Whatever you are feeling, feel it, reflecting on the origin of the feeling.
2. If you find yourself experiencing the holiday blues, don’t hide those feelings or ignore them. Acknowledge them to yourself and others. Many people are feeling the same way.
3. Recall the parties, family gatherings, people you met, family members with whom you reconnected. Recall the memories but not in a perspective of “its over”, but in the perspective that they happened! How did these encounters affect you or change you? What can you take away from these encounters? Might you have made new friendships? Connect with the new friend. Did you meet distant family members? Develop a plan to stay in touch in a meaningful way.
4. Recall your fondest and favorite memories of the holiday season. How did you feel? How does the memory make you feel now (recalling the memories in a positive perspective)? Take your current feeling and find a way to make that feeling last into the new year.
The bottom line: make the conscious effort to find a way to make Christmas, it’s spirit and meaning, last into the new year, effecting and changing you every day. If you do this, if I do this, there is no longer a need for the holiday blues since the holidays never truly leave us or end.