Feeling the post-holiday blues?

January 07, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

The most recent holiday season was certainly better than last year, now that many of us have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Many of us were able to reunite with family and friends again. It felt a bit more normal.

But now that the holidays are over, the post-holiday blues starts to set us. And it leaves many of us feeling down.

Post-holiday depression can set in after life slows down and the adrenaline rush we get from shopping, decorating and gathering with family and friends ends.  

“For many people, there may be a bit more grieving going on this year,” says Mary Schramer, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist at Linden Oaks Medical Group. “For those who have experienced the death of a loved one in the past year, the grief may be even more intense."

Other things, such as increased sugar consumption over the holidays, can lead to a change in mood in January. Those sugary treats may have led to increased levels of dopamine in December, but in January we may find ourselves feeling a bit sluggish.

Dr. Schramer recommends trying to get back to as much of a normal routine as possible to help kick the post-holiday blues.

“One of the things we have to do is to try to get into as much of a normal routine as we can create,” she says. “We need to respect our need for sleep and having the nutrition that we need to be healthy and strong.”

She also suggests finding ways to stay active or involved. You could try setting a regular time for an outdoor hike, head online to sign up for a virtual class, or register to watch a concert.

“Make plans to take some sort of action,” says Dr. Schramer.

Typically, the holiday blues last a few days and subside once you return to a normal routine. If you notice feelings of sadness lasting a couple of weeks it might be time to contact a therapist. Other signs that your post-holiday blues has turned into depression include not being able to care for yourself, changes in appetite and/or changes in sleep patterns.

If you are already seeing a therapist, you may want to ask to schedule extra sessions to help work through post-holiday depression.

“Don’t be afraid to use the tools that are available to you to help get back on track,” says Dr. Schramer.

Therapy services are available through Linden Oaks Medical Group. To schedule an appointment call 630-305-5118.

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