Beating The Post Holiday Blues

‘Tis the season to be jolly. That’s what the old Christmas song says anyway. But once those pretty presents are unwrapped, the festive parties are a memory and the hustle and bustle of the season winds down, many people are left singing the blues.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) the post-holiday blues are indeed a real phenomenon. Yet, unlike seasonal affective disorder (SAD),  which is estimated to affect between 10 to 20 percent of Americans, it’s unknown exactly how many people suffer from the holiday blues.

The reasons why some people slip into a slump after the holidays varies, but the most common causes include not being ready to settle back into a regular work routine and dealing with family demands. Then there’s buyer’s remorse; otherwise known as the jaw-dropping moment when those credit card bills arrive and you realize you exceeded your Christmas/holiday shopping budget.

Don’t despair. Here’s the good news.  That blasé feeling you’re experiencing will soon fade.

In the meantime, there are also steps you can take that may help you shake off the post “holidaze” and bring some comfort and joy back into your life.

  • CALL TIME OUT—Chances are you’ve been moving at warp speed dashing from one holiday event to the next or even hosting your own soirees.  Now is the time to exhale and unwind emotionally and physically. Recalibrate. Find your own personal quiet space to relax. Maybe a soothing spa manicure and pedicure will do the trick. You can also reflect on those moments of the holiday season that you did enjoy.
  • GET TO STEPPING–During the holidays we tend to sit, overeat and drink a lot which can leave us lethargic and even grumpy.   Although feeling down isn’t likely to put you in the mood to exercise, getting off the sofa and moving is one of the best things you can do.  Nothing extreme, but something as simple as a brisk, 15-20 minute walk a couple days a week can do wonders. Exercise produces opiate-like endorphins which can provide a sense of calmness, not to mention work off all that turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie you gobbled down.
  • THERE’S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Sometimes it’s good to know that you’re not alone. Sharing your thoughts with a friend or acquaintance who might also be down in the dumps can be cathartic and get both of you headed back down the path of happiness again.

Remember, if your symptoms persist and you need information about professional psychological services, it’s important to verify that the psychologist you choose has a current, valid license. A license ensures the psychologist has met stringent educational and experience standards and passed comprehensive examinations. It also ensures he or she has passed a criminal background check.

You can verify a psychologist’s license status by calling the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Board of Psychology at (916) 574-7720 or visiting their website at Click on the “License Verification” link.

For more information about depression and holiday stress, or to find a licensed psychologist, visit the APA Help Center at

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