Woohoo! Woo. Hoo. Huh. Ugh.
Am I the only one not feeling so rah-rah about the new year? At first I thought it was because I came back to Denver with a blechy cold and felt like a big whiny holiday-cookie-padded baby. Then, as I reacquainted myself with my To-Do list — all of those undone, unpaid things from 2013, and a book I have no idea how to get published glaring back at me — I felt a familiar pressure return.
But what about the NEW 2014 goals? Networking with potential local clients, putting money in my HSA, volunteering, traveling, dating — will there be room left? Energy? Money? Time?
Yeah, so, what about that? I felt stuck and already behind. I stuffed another one of Mom’s Christmas cookies in my mouth before taking my own advice about finding some comfort vs. forcing joy, and calling an insightful, upbeat friend for an overdue catchup call/happy distraction. Turns out, she was less than enthusiastic too as she is dealing with some unexpected upheavals in her world. On the heels of our call, thanks to one of those accidental dials, I immediately talked with another friend whose health issues are making it hard for her to jump on the 2014 bandwagon. What gives?
These post-holiday blues are not uncommon. While all kinds of people relished kicking 2013 to the curb, others may find the transition less celebratory, more of a crash back to reality, and for some a reality that includes ongoing or unexpected challenges.
In How to survive the post-holiday blues, author Jenn Savedge writes:
The holiday season is an emotional roller coaster and stepping off at the end can leave you with a case of psychological whiplash. Whether it’s caused by feelings of guilt from overindulgence, unmet expectations, or a return to loneliness, depression after the holidays is a common condition.
Savedge offers some great advice for getting back on track. Her “Go public” especially resonates with me as sharing, talking and laughing with my two friends today made me feel connected and supported. It was also good and motivating perspective.
Another good article is 7 Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues by Carol W. Berman, M.D., who offers sound, science-backed advice on easing into the new year on solid ground, e.g., one or two goals will be less stressful than ten.
I especially like #6:
Make time for creativity in the new year. Perhaps you would like to start that journal or diary you have been thinking about. What about some art or pottery classes? Creativity stimulates new pathways in the brain and can elevate moods.
My holiday-cookie clogged brain could use some pathways so I created an Elizabeth Gilbert-inspired Happiness Jar, where you write down the happiest moment of your day (or in some cases, the least sucky), note inspiration and/or things you’re thankful for, and pop it in a jar or other vessel (decoration optional). My first entry was about beer. I know but after a travel day with a cold it tasted astonishingly good.
Today’s moment will be easy: catching up with my two friends. I’m happier just thinking about it.
Got a post-holiday bump in the road? What’s your strategy?