Dealing with Post-Christmas Blues

After the adrenaline and excitement of the holiday season is over, many people struggle with the post-Christmas blues. Here are some symptoms to look out for and ways to reduce the impact so you can start the new year off in a positive way.

The days leading to Christmas, holidays and celebrations are exciting, frenetic times. They’re a whirl of parties and social engagements, gifts and food to be purchased and travel arranged. The rush to get things organised builds into a great festive crescendo then…well, it’s over.

If you’ve ever awoken on New Year’s Day feeling a tad flat, you’re not alone. Don’t beat yourself up; the Post-Christmas Blues is a well-documented condition.

After the sparkle and colour of festivity, the hamster-wheel banality of real life seems pale and unappealing.

Worse, the weather is hot, the kids are bored and fractious, and taking decorations down is never as much fun as putting them up.

Then the bills arrive.

The despondency you’re feeling is real, in fact, in a 2015 study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (a US based mental health organisation), two-thirds (64%) of people surveyed admitted to feelings of depression and anxiety after Christmas.

Symptoms include fatigue, tension, frustration, sadness and a sense of loss. If you’re nodding while reading this, the good news is there are steps you can take to reduce the physical, emotional and financial impact of the Post-Christmas Blues.

Here are some ideas.

Exercise – exercise every day, even a walk around the block, and if you have people staying over get up early and take time out for yourself.

Get plenty of sleep – stick to a normal bedtime routine and ensure you don’t burn yourself out.

Eat and drink in moderation – it’s not called the silly season for nothing. Moderation means enjoying yourself without overdoing it. Maybe try these two simple guidelines:

  1. Never go to a party on an empty stomach.
  2. Learn to love mineral water. If you feel pressured to drink alcohol, take mineral water and a slice of lime, over ice, in a spirits glass. They’ll never know the difference!

Gift buying and holiday arranging is exciting, and it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent.

We have 12 months lead time so planning ahead is your best strategy.

Consider these ideas:

  • List who you’re buying for and set a spending limit. Don’t feel pressured to spend more or keep up with anyone else.
  • Shop throughout the year at sales events.
  • Avoid credit cards and buy-now pay-later schemes.
  • Make gifts, e.g., baked goods, knitted items, potted plants.
  • Surprisingly, some banks still offer Christmas Club savings accounts. Check them out and put aside a small, manageable sum each pay.

If your credit card has taken a beating over the holiday season, speak to your adviser about a debt reduction plan. They’ll help you get back on track, and then structure a budget for the next year.

The December/January period can be difficult for many reasons. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, don’t soldier-on. Organisations like Lifeline Australia (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 46 36) are only a phone call away.

Alternatively, if it’s a relaxing chat you’re looking for, why not ask a friend over for coffee? It may be just what they need too.

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