How to Beat the Post Holiday Blues
Johnsie Douglas M.Ed,LPC, CDC Senior Care Advisor/CarePatrol of SC
The holidays are over, the decorations are down and the children are back at school. Your out-of-town family members have returned to their homes and the loved one you’ve been taking care of has declined since last Christmas, leaving you feeling sad and disappointed. This article is designed to help you identify and alleviate the post-holiday blues often characterized by overwhelming feelings of disappointment, tearfulness and hopelessness, combined with exhaustion.
Family caregivers are vulnerable to post holiday blues for a number of reasons. Caregivers bear the burden of taking care of their loved ones, protecting them, advocating for them, and educating others of their needs. Usually, family caregivers are also raising a family, working full or part time, and have many other obligations besides caretaker. Family caregivers ignore their own health risks, signs, and symptoms of stress, and delay their own medical appointments. While this could be a normal, short-term feeling, it is important to recognize the seriousness if it continues for more than 2 weeks.
How many of these symptoms are you currently experiencing?
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Increased sleep and daytime sleepiness
- Less energy
- Less ability to focus
- Feelings of sluggish or lethargic movement
- Social withdrawal
Pay attention to how many of these you are currently experiencing and for how long a period. If it lasts more than a month without it lessening in degrees of severity, it could end up becoming depression, anxiety, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Ways to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues
- Make your environment sunnier and brighter. The house may seem bare after the decorations are down. Try adding some fresh cut flowers, opening more curtains, or rearranging your space for a fresh outlook.
- Increase your time outside. Adjust morning routines for coffee on the porch or visit a nearby park or nature area.
- Exercise. Brisk walks and yoga are things to do at home and most communities have centers where regular activities are offered for all ages. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
- Make plans to socialize at least once a week. Keeping in touch with your support network is important. A lunch date or coffee with trusted companions provides an outlet and much needed break.
- Plan a day trip or day off with friends or family so that you have something to look forward to.
Post-holiday blues are normal but shouldn’t last more than 2 weeks or you can risk advancing issues with mental health. These are just a few of the ways to fight back. Caregivers are one of the most susceptible groups so being aware of your feelings and making time for yourself is crucial. Realize that you are your most valuable commodity, and you deserve to spoil yourself, participate in something that brings you joy, and in order to not get stuck, get moving physically! Post-holiday blues can be beat!
Care Patrol of SC is a team of professionals dedicated to helping caregivers find the right care solutions and resources for their loved one. Our services and advice are always free for families, and we have experienced team members across the state ready to help. We care!
Additional Resources/Cited Sources