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 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 tend to relax in the glow of Christmas and the expectation of a new year with new beginnings. Yet, intermingled amidst my joyous feelings, there is a feeling of sadness as I realize that the holiday season is almost over. Since the time when I was a young child I have loved the period 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, in a flash, we are past New Years Day! As I now sit and admire 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 from me so quickly?
I don’t believe that I am alone in my emotions, nor do I need to be a counselor to understand the rationale for why many of us feel down after the holidays. Here are some actions I do for myself to cope with my feelings this time of the year:
1. Spend a moment each day closing your eyes, slowing your breath, and focus on your 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 nor 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, not in a perspective of “it’s over”, but in the perspective that it happened. How did those 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 this holiday season. How do those memories make you feel? Take that feeling and find a way to make the feeling last into the new year.
5. Make a conscious effort to find a way to make Christmas, its spirit and meaning, last into the new year. If we can accomplish that then there is no longer a need for the holiday blues since the holiday will never truly end.
… continue the conversation …