Some people call it “post-holiday syndrome”—that feeling of tiredness and despair that occasionally descends after the Christmas season is over and things are returning to normal.
Regardless, many people feel sad as the holidays come to a close. Christmas is both a joyful and stressful time, so it’s a good idea to take some time to care for yourself after it’s over.
Read on for 15 of the best ways to help you recover from the holiday season!
1. Avoid the Leftovers
That turkey might have been delicious, but in the days after Christmas ends, you should try not to be tempted by the leftovers. Most big holiday meals consist of unhealthy items like gravy, butter, and sugary foods.
And while these foods taste great, it isn’t very health-conscious to keep eating them after the holidays. Not to mention Christmas food can extend the nostalgia of the holidays for even longer and possibly make you feel in even more of a funk.
2. Be Grateful
A good way to help your holiday longing is to focus on the positives. Keep the Christmas cheer going to lift your spirits by naming things you are grateful for—including family, friends, and other aspects of life.
Instead of being sad that Christmas is over and counting how many weeks until the next holiday season, write some thank you notes for gifts, make a phone call to catch up with someone, or start a gratitude journal to remind yourself of everything good.
3. Channel Creativity
A tried and true way to beat the seasonal blue is by getting crafty and embracing your creative side. Every person is creative in some capacity, and now is the perfect time to figure out your talents or passions when it comes to making something by hand.
Try painting, sketching, or making a collage if you are the artsy type. You could even dabble in sculpting by getting air-hardening clay or making something useable at a pottery studio.
For anyone with a story to tell, pull out a notebook or computer and weave a narrative that transports you. Or, get lyrical with some poetry or give yourself a cinematic experience by drafting a script.
4. Drink More Water
It is likely you didn’t have as much water as usual during the holiday season—eggnog, mulled wine, and the variety of other traditional Christmas drinks may be delicious but aren’t good for preventing dehydration!
Grab your favorite water bottle and fill it up in the morning. Try to finish it by noon, and then fill it again. If you keep a large bottle on hand and purposefully work on drinking it all day long, your normal hydration schedule will be on track soon!
For a more enjoyable experience, try out some refreshing water and fruit combinations. You can slice up a variety of citruses, pop berries into your bottle, or even infuse with cucumbers and mint to create different flavors instead of plain water.
5. Eat Better
After the holidays, it’s a good idea to stay away from all the foods that have high fat and sugar content and focus on healthier meals. Opt for lower-calorie options and plenty of fiber and protein, and try to add vegetables to everything you can.
For an easy way to fit some healthy foods into your schedule, even if you are still busy after Christmas is over, look up slow-cooker or crockpot soup recipes.
These are easy to prepare in the morning and will bubble away all afternoon until you’re ready to serve up some delicious and health-conscious food for dinner. Plus, recipes like these take almost all of the work out of food preparation for you!
6. Establish an Exercise Routine
Add in some physical activity to help you stay in shape or even work off a couple of pounds that Christmas tends to add.
Now is the perfect time to start a new exercise routine or pick up on where you left off with a previous schedule. Hit the gym, sign up for a series of yoga classes, or book yourself into a kickboxing lesson.
Not only will some sweat and physical exercise make you feel better, but you can also take the time to learn some new moves and perhaps even discover a new fitness passion!
7. Get Active
While getting out to the gym or starting an at-home workout schedule is vital to getting your stamina back after the holiday season, it’s also important to be more active in everyday life.
Take the stairs, clip on the dog’s leash and go for a long walk, or bring your family on a wintertime hike to enjoy the nice breeze.
Additionally, you can take advantage of some seasonal ways to be active, like skating, camping, or exploring state parks while it’s not too hot. Plus, this involves the entire family in on the fun!
8. Give Yourself a Break
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel a little down after Christmas. Not only did you spend weeks preparing for the holiday, but spending time with family and friends can also be very draining.
If you are not feeling back to normal yet, that’s okay—take it easy on yourself and remember to be gentle in your thoughts.
9. Go Back to Your Normal Routine
Whatever your normal was before the holidays started, try to go back to that. It will help your body and mind reset to the state you were in before Christmas, and all the season’s activities, stresses, and gatherings.
Getting back into your usual routine will help you with any feelings of listlessness that may linger after the holidays. It will also help you catch up on any work or projects that were neglected during the Christmas season.
10. Plan Something New
Sometimes, the sudden lack of planning things can make you feel sad. We spend months leading up to the holidays in planning mode, preparing various gifts, cards, trips, menus, and many more things, but suddenly there is nothing to plan.
Let yourself choose an activity or trip to complete in the next month and start planning for it. The process will make you feel productive, and you will get a well-thought-out experience to enjoy at the end of it, too!
11. Refresh Your Closet
Now is a good time to reevaluate your wardrobe and consider if you really want to go into the new year with all the same items in the closet. Go through your clothes and shoes, and make sure you are honest with yourself.
If you haven’t worn something since last Christmas, that is a pretty good indication you should get rid of it. Box up as many things as you can for goodwill and spread the holiday spirit to those who might need it most—it will make you feel wonderful, too.
12. Reset Your Sleep Schedule
Over the holidays, our sleep schedules can become skewed. So, before the season ends entirely and you have to go back to work, it’s a good idea to reset your bedtime to its usual routine.
Even if others are still staying up and being festive, go to bed at a reasonable time to get your body back in the rhythm of sleeping and waking refreshed. You will feel much better because of it!
13. Schedule Alone Time
Your Christmas likely involved a lot of interactions with family and friends and not much private time for you.
And while this can be a wonderful experience, and people tend to look forward to this aspect of the holidays for months in advance, setting aside some alone time for yourself is just as important as socializing.
As you recover from the stress of the season, do things that make you feel happy or relaxed. Pick up a book, take a bubble bath, or head to the spa for an afternoon of reconnecting with yourself.
14. Stock up on Sickness Remedies
Wintertime is usually a common time for people to get sick, and Christmas celebrations certainly don’t help alleviate that risk! After many gatherings and activities that are common over the holidays, you should prepare for an illness.
Make sure your cabinets have plenty of cold and flu remedies for the entire family and that you have ginger tea in the kitchen for any sore throats that might be incoming. It’s always better to be overly prepared than not at all!
15. Turn Off Your Phone
Take a break from social media and notifications by switching off your phone for a while. After the business of Christmas, it’s a good idea to give yourself some breathing room from other people.
Think of it as a mental health hiatus and take the time to reconnect with yourself and your needs. Updating your newsfeed can wait for at least a day or two!