How to Get over Those Post-Holiday Blues

Mental Health

Dr. Happy

Most of you reading this are probably back at work; or at the very least back at home trying to complete the usual array of mundane, household chores.

Whether you travelled far and wide or simply enjoyed some relaxing time on the beach, I think I’m safe in assuming that the holidays seem like a distant memory.

The Christmas and New Year break was great; but all good things come to an end and the drudgery of everyday life is starting to chip away at your happiness and drag you down in to the post-holiday blues.

But it need not be like this. Really!

Life doesn’t need to be divided in to good times and bad – with the former only ever occurring during holidays or weekends and the latter consuming most of the year and much of the working week.

If that were the case, you’d be wasting somewhere between 80 and 90% of your time!

So how, then, can you overcome the post-holiday blues and how, at the same time, can you create a life in which you enjoy much more of your time? Well, I thought you’d never ask…

  • Look back and positively reminisce – create a photo album of your favourite memories and reflect upon your experiences regularly; share these memories with family or friends and you’ll find that the telling and re-telling of stories can be thoroughly enjoyable. Consider what life lessons you may be able to learn and find ways to integrate these in to your daily life. Re-create a meal you enjoyed during your travels and/or find a local activity that’s similar to something you enjoyed while on holidays  
  • Be present and find things to enjoy in the here and now – obviously, none of us will be on holidays all the time; and even if we could afford to be, one of the reasons holidays are enjoyable is because they’re something different. There’s no doubt there are many wonderful reasons to plan and enjoy holidays but there’s also no doubt that for our own health and wellbeing it would be wonderful to find ways to enjoy our “normal” or regular lives as much as possible. And the good news is that this is possible. The practice of gratitude and appreciation is most likely to bring this about so set aside time each and every day to reflect upon all those things in your day and in your life for which you could be thankful. In addition, our regular daily lives can be made more enjoyable by trying new things often. Routine and habits have many benefits but from time to time, even the most disciplined of us should break out and do things differently
  • Plan things to look forward to and engender hope and optimism – and finally, something many of us often forget is that much of the joy from holidays comes during the anticipation phase. Planning, preparation, conducting research can all be significantly happiness boosting so start planning your next holiday and begin to enjoy the benefits in the lead up to whenever you re-set that “out of office” message. Even if not a major holiday, plan pleasurable and enjoyable activities on a regular basis (e.g. a meal out, a catch up with friends, an excursion to a part of your city you’ve never visited before); research suggests that we gain more happiness from regular, small experiences that from irregular large ones!

So, there it is. If you’re experiencing the post-holiday blues, (1) know that it’s relatively normal and common and (2) know that you’re not alone. Know also, that there are steps you can take to ameliorate the distress and to create more happiness and a better life.

I wish you all the best of luck in all your future endeavours and a happy and healthy 2019!

Dr Happy

Please note: Dr Happy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic, please consult your healthcare professional.

Category:Mental Health

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