Are you still hearing a lot of “How were your holidays?” or “I hope your holidays were wonderful?” And each time you hear these questions – you’re cringing inside.
Perhaps you are just beginning to come to the realization you have a Holiday Hang-Over. It’s going to take some time and effort to recover from the emotional let-down you feel from the less-than-perfect holiday season.
You’re not alone. You’re not weird to feel a sense of loss weeks after the holidays are actually over. People are feeling it all over the world. Some have felt it for years – after every season. They just don’t connect their “blue moods” to the holiday season.
The truth is there are times in your life when the holidays just don’t happen the way you would like them to happen. Sometimes you are going through grief or struggles. The past holiday season only served to remind you of just how hard life is right now. The laughter you saw on the festive movies and commercials seemed to clang in dissonance with what you were feeling.
- The relative who is just a little outspoken really crossed the line and talked flippantly about your divorce.
- The in-law who still doesn’t think you belong as a member of the family made sure you knew this once again by commenting on the dish you brought. “Honey, we don’t make our sweet potatoes like that in this family.”
- The reality the place-setting where your loved one always sat for Christmas dinner remains empty. They’ll never be there again.
- Your loved one isn’t with you this holiday due to serving in the military.
- Your finances aren’t delightful and festive.
- Your marriage is falling apart
Any of the above are common reasons why you might be experiencing a Holiday Hang-Over. This holiday season – keeping up the smiles and politeness – took a toll on you. Facing loss of any kind during the holidays is hard. It brings up suppressed grief and sadness.
How do you recognize a Holiday Hang-Over? And what do you do with it once you do recognize you’ve got one? I have some ideas for you.
Signs of A Holiday Hang-Over
Your mind keeps replaying what happened – The holidays of the past – compared to the holiday that just passed keeps playing over and over again in your thoughts. You just can’t stop the tapes.
You just cannot shake the fatigue – No matter what, it feels like your feet have weights on them. You’re moving at a slow pace – as if through sludge.
Your mood won’t lighten – The sadness and irritability just won’t go away. It’s almost as if the El Nino in the atmosphere is happening right over your lovely little head.
Your sleep hasn’t been quite right – The full night of rest you were getting before the holiday season seems like a lifetime ago. Instead, it’s a “disturbed sleep cycle.” – Wake up. Think. Sleep. Wake up. Think. Sleep. Wake up. Think. Sleep. The cycle isn’t stopping.
Your appetite has changed – You either just can’t eat a thing right now or you’re in serious danger of eating yourself right out of your grocery budget.
All of the above are signs the holiday season took a toll on you. These signs also mean it’s time to take action. It’s time to stop and notice the symptoms. It’s time to begin the healing from the Holiday Hang-Over. The holidays are behind you now. Now it’s time to put away the emotions lagging behind.
Ways to Recover from a Holiday Hang-Over
*The following are ways to address the Holiday Hang-Over only if your doctor or physician agrees your symptoms are not coming from a medical ailment.*
Listen to your heart. Your symptoms of the Holiday Hang-Over are telling you something about how you experienced the holidays. Find a tablet or one of those pretty writing books. Give yourself 15 to 30 minutes and write down what really happened during the holidays. Write out what you thought about it all. Don’t censor yourself – Just write for a solid 15 to 30 minutes about what you did, saw, and heard. And how it felt. Don’t forget to connect the feelings. Stuffing the feelings has you stuck in this funk. Acknowledging them is the way out.
Walk or Exercise
Start taking walks. Take 20 minutes and walk around outdoors or even in your house. Just get walking. Research shows movement helps our “happy hormones” to be released into our system. You’re going to need “happy hormones” to get rid of the Holiday Hang-Over.
Get Back to Eating Healthy and Sleeping
It’s widely known the best offense of getting out of a “funk” is taking care of yourself with good nutrition and sleep. Sleep deprivation is the first line of torture. Stop torturing yourself. Turn off the computer, TV and cellphone an hour before getting to bed. Make sure the temperature is wonderfully comfortable to get sleep. Look at the food you’ve been eating. As much as possible, get back to good nutrition. Eat less refined sugar. Read a book on nutrition. Just start eating healthy.
Phone a Friend – Maybe Two
Your friends might not know the holidays were difficult for you this year. It’s not because their selfish. (Although, everyone has one or two selfish friends.) Call the friend who you know cares and just hasn’t connected that you’re experiencing the Holiday Hang-Over. You know they’ll care. You know they’ll listen. You would listen to them, so give them the chance to listen to you and support you.
Make an Appointment
If the above action steps don’t work to relieve the funky Holiday Hang-Over, I really encourage you to call a counselor or professional therapist. Make an appointment and run the story by them of your holidays. Sometimes, one or two appointments are what’s needed to just let you know – Yes. You’re sane. You’re sad and you’re sane. You’re going to be OK. You’re just going to keep moving through this valley and you’ll be coming out shortly by giving kindness and compassion to yourself.
Holidays are temporary. Grief and struggles don’t take holidays. Give yourself the care you need if you find you’re in a Holiday Hang-Over. Be gentle. Spring will be here before you know it. A new season – A new reason to keep moving forward. Grief and struggles won’t last forever. You’re gonna get through this. You just might need time, space and help.
The above is encouragement for you. It isn’t intended to be professional counseling or replace an assessment by a professional therapist or doctor. If you think you might benefit from an appointment with a therapist, give me a call. We’ll talk. We’ll find out together what’s needed to help you out of the Holiday Hang-Over. 530-268-3558.