Post-holiday blues got you down? Here are 10 easy ways to get rid of that “blah” feeling and de-stress so you can feel like yourself again.
It seems like every year around the time Christmas break is over, I start to feel the effects of the holidays. I feel tired, sluggish, symptoms creep up, and I just don’t feel quite myself. Am I the only one?
Thankfully, I have discovered a handful of tools to help alleviate this stress and get back on track. The month of January is a great reset for most of us, but sometimes we push harder to reach our goals rather than slowing down and prioritizing self-care.
What Triggers the Post Holiday Blues?
There are a number of different factors at play that combine to create a sense of feeling down after January 1. They are:
- Maxing out our schedules during the holidays. So many of us, especially women, feel the pressure to cook and wrap all the things – not to mention attend every school, work, church, and family function. We lack the down-time we need to recharge our batteries, and the stress of this starts to rear its ugly head come January. To inspire you to slow down, read I Want a Little House on the Prairie Life and Deep Down, You Do, Too.
- Increased consumption of sugary & processed foods. The inevitable holiday weight gain alone can cause negative feelings, plus our bodies must cope with detoxing these unhealthy foods.
- Disrupted sleep patterns. Packed schedules and traveling means your quality of sleep was probably disrupted somewhat.
- Let down after saying good-bye to dear family members, or hello to work and school schedules. I always feel this keenly, as all of our family members live several hours away! You might be dreading a return to work responsibilities.
If you identify with any of these, read on! Here’s what I’m doing this month to alleviate holiday stress and get back to feeling like me again.
1. Prioritize rest time.
Although it’s a temptation to want to hit the ground running with work, I’m trying hard to keep my priorities straight. I am making afternoon rest time nonnegotiable again. On the days when I rest in the afternoons, I am so much more productive.
Yesterday I felt like I was being lazy by laying in bed and watching a movie for two hours. But after that time, I got so much done.
I wrote an entire blog post, cooked dinner, cleaned the whole kitchen, and accomplished other tasks around the house. If I had pushed through and not rested, I would’ve been so exhausted and probably would have had a headache, rendering me useless.
It made more realize that most of the time, rest actually enables us to be more productive!
The hardest part of prioritizing rest for me is getting to bed at a decent hour. I’m not sure what the allure is, but I love staying up late and watching movies instead of getting to bed on time.
But I am resolving to try and get more shut eye, knowing that this will help me feel more energetic quickly. Here are 18 Simple Ways to Get Better Quality Sleep.
2. Declutter & Organize.
If you know our family well, you know tidiness is not our strong suit. I am working on myself in this area though, and have noticed that after Christmas I seem to get a newfound appreciation for a clean and tidy space. It just refreshes my soul and makes me feel calm.
This past week I decluttered our bedroom and ordered us a new cotton comforter, plus rearranged some bedroom elements like my himalayan salt lamp, etc. It feels so good to have a clean and tidy space!
Of course we also took down all the Christmas decor and organized the boys room, too. This is giving us mental space to breathe and relax.
3. Watch what you eat.
Of course most of us want to lose weight in the new year, and I am no exception. Since I’ve been trying to increase my nutrient status over the past few years recovering from iron deficiency, I have prioritized eating plenty of healthy food over weight loss.
And at times, I’ve been guilty of eating too much healthy food. Ha!
So this month I am keeping a daily log of what I’m eating. It’s helping me be more aware of what I am consuming every day and eat smaller portions.
It’s only been a week, but I can already feel a difference. The app I am using is called MyPlate, and I love it! It makes keeping track really easy.
4. Eat more vegetables and fiber.
I’ve been trying to increase my vegetable intake along with fiber, and it’s really improving my digestion which is helping alleviate stress, too.
One of my favorite ways to eat extra veggies is to roast them in the oven and add them to a salad or a side dish. I also love grinding up a bunch of flaxseed and sprinkling it on salads, in smoothies, or whatever I’m eating. Flaxseeds are wonderful cancer fighting seed with tons of antioxidants and fiber.
5. Let yourself off the hook.
Since I am feeling the effects of stress with more headaches and fatigue, I am letting myself off the hook with things that are not absolute necessities. As much as I would like to attend every function and be super productive at work, I am letting certain things go for the sake of my health.
I’m also embracing the wonders of InstaCart from ALDI – who knew that not having to grocery shop could be so freeing and de-stressing??
I’m loving InstaCart so far. All you have to do is download the app, select your local store and input your address. Then shop for what you need (the app is SO EASY to use!), set time for delivery, and your food shows up at your door! Here’s a $10 off coupon for you to use on your first order!
I’m also letting myself off the hook by tweaking my New Year’s goals. I was planning to start a new sourdough bread baking journey, which I am sure I will be documenting here and on social media.
But I just didn’t have the energy to start that right after January 1, so I’m letting myself off the hook and figure I will get around to it when I get around to it. No sense in stressing myself about it!
6. Increase magnesium.
Magnesium is just the perfect natural remedy for so many ails, isn’t it? I wrote an entire post about the benefits of magnesium – read it if you haven’t already.
Since it’s the anti-stress mineral, I’ve been making sure to take more Epsom salt baths and slather on my favorite magnesium lotion. It works wonders, and my husband and I use it every night to sleep better.
7. Take extra vitamin C.
My mom taught me this a little tip that during times of extra stress, she takes extra vitamin C during the day. We all know vitamin C for its immune enhancing properties. Did you know it is also very important for stress relief?
Our bodies waste vitamin C during times of stress, so adding some extra C can really help alleviate things if you’re feeling the crunch.
8. Drink lots of healing teas.
Maybe you’ve heard that a cup of hot tea makes everything better? I tend to agree. In fact, I wrote an entire post about my favorite types of teas and their benefits. I also have fresh turmeric tea and elderberry tea recipes on the blog.
So this month, my most fun self-care ritual is drinking tea more often. I’m trying some new ones I haven’t had in a while.
Right now I’m loving Bigelow peppermint tea to improve digestion. It’s also one of the only teas that genuinely taste just as good with no sweetener added.
Recently, I read this post about the benefits of nettle tea and tonic to strengthen the body and relieve stress. I am going to try nettle tonic daily for a while to see if it makes a difference in my energy.
My boys love of earthy flavor of nettle tea and often ask for it. It’s kind of similar to a black tea, delicious with a bit of raw honey. We also add it to our basic fruit smoothies in the morning, especially if I don’t have any kefir made that day.
9. Read quality fiction.
As much as I love a good self-help book as an adult, I am resolved to read more classical fiction and I’m really enjoying it. Reading books just gives me a chance to unplug and stop thinking so deeply about everything. I’m currently 3/4 through Jane Eyre.
If you’re in the market for a good read, here is a post I wrote about the best Christian fiction books for women. I recommend checking it out and seeing if there are some titles you haven’t read yet.
Of course a silly movie is wonderful now and then too, but it’s easy to get sucked into screen time and forget to read. Whenever I read at night before bed, I always feel so relaxed and it’s easier for me to drift off to sleep than when there are screen lights blaring in my face.
For Christmas, I got these blue light canceling glasses to help mitigate the effects of blue light before bed. Maybe they’ll help!
10. Spend time in nature.
This winter, we are extremely blessed (so far) with some of the warmest weather on record with plenty of sunny days. But even if your days are bitterly cold, bundle up and get out for a short walk.
Since seasonal affective disorder can exacerbate the post holiday blues, make a special effort to head out of doors in cold weather. Here are 6 easy ways to spend more time outside without even trying.
If the weather is truly making it impossible for you to spend much time outside, use this time to plan a warm weather getaway. Having something to look forward to brings added joy and motivation to a dreary season.
I hope you found some ideas to help you navigate the bleak midwinter doldrums this year. What would you add to this list? How do you alleviate stress after the holidays?