Post-holiday syndrome

“Urgh, I wish holidays could go all year long,” my family and I often remark as we give our goodbye hugs and kisses as I return to my own place. Regardless of any squabbles that may emerge, the feeling of family togetherness is indescribable. For many of us, these are the people we see only once or twice a year — catching up for an entire year is always pleasant. Taking a break from your everyday routine is relaxing, and the fact that you don’t have to go to work is a pleasant change. After the holidays, do you often wonder why it’s so difficult to get back into the groove? Post-holiday blues are a real thing.

After the festivities of the holiday, it’s back to work and daily routine. The news may come as a welcome relief to some. Even with all the goodwill and joy, the holiday season may be a drain on your finances, physical health, and mental well-being. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64 percent of adults report being affected by Christmas depression, and the stress of the season is the most common reason. Even if you’ve been on a high during the ‘happiest time of the year,’ it might be hard to come down from that euphoria and get back to work.

It’s impossible to generalize about sadness; it’s deeply personal. The things that make one person sad may not have the same effect on another. Stress, exhaustion, unrealistic expectations, and over-commercialization are common causes of Holiday melancholy. The inability to spend time with loved ones due to financial hardship. Shopping, parties, family duties, and house guests can put a strain on the body’s ability to handle them all. Individuals who may not perceive themselves to be depressed may experience stress-related symptoms such as headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia. Post-holiday blues may strike others following New Year’s Day. This might occur as a result of the preceding year’s built-up expectations and disappointments, as well as stress and weariness.

Oftentimes, the holiday season is an emotional rollercoaster. After the excitement of the holidays has died down, many people fall into a funk or depressed mood and struggle to carry on with their daily routines. Mood swings that occur after the winter festive season are commonly referred to as “holiday blues,” “holiday depression,” or “post-Christmas blues.” There are numerous reasons why people experience post-holiday depression. It’s possible that the holidays didn’t live up to your expectations, that your plans fell through, or that your expectations were simply not met. Some people experience feelings of shame after overindulging on substances such as alcohol or food. You might also feel bad about yourself if you missed an event that you were supposed to go to. It’s comforting to know that we’re not the only ones experiencing these emotions.

Holiday blues may be the brain’s way of reorganizing itself in the midst of a jarring transition from one experience to another. Furthermore, the second half of December is essentially one long break from your usual routine. Another possible cause of post-holiday depression is the stress of coping with difficult situations and maintaining your composure in the midst of the holiday festivities.. Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of “Thriving as an Empath,” says that pretending to be happy can be exhausting. Dr. Richard O’Connor, a psychotherapist, believes that we “arm” ourselves with coping mechanisms to handle stress as well as difficult emotions during the holiday season.

During the holidays, we’re more likely to spend time with our loved ones. Spending time with our loved ones can also leave us feeling conflicted. We’ve all experienced times when we’ve felt let down or treated unfairly by members of our family. This can cause sadness and even a sense of mourning in its own right. On the other hand, being with family can bring us great joy, and we may then miss them greatly when they return home. Holidays frequently rekindle memories of those who are no longer with us or with whom we have lost contact. It could be the result of a death, a divorce, or simply time passing. It’s not uncommon to experience a relapse of the mourning process around the time of the holidays.

Many of us return home after being away for a year, and it’s understandable if you’re worn out. While you’re away from home, you’re able to process and slowly regain the energy you expended keeping everything together. Feeling tired and depressed can be a side effect of exhaustion. Assuming you had a few days off from work, you’re now back at it every day. In order to take time off, it is possible to leave behind a mountain of work that can be overwhelming.

It is okay to allow oneself to experience any feeling. The post-holiday blues will not last indefinitely. And meanwhile, be kind to yourself. Compassionate toward yourself—Do not condemn yourself for feeling the way you do; allow yourself the time necessary to regain your equilibrium.

References

Holiday Depression And Stress. (2020, September 27). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/depression/holiday-depression-stress.

Angle, C. (n.d.). Post Holiday Syndrome. Post Holiday Syndrome. https://greatlakespsychiatric.com/resources/monthly-hot-topic/32-post-holiday-syndrome.

Post-Holiday Blues: What It Is And How To Cope. (n.d.). Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-manage-post-holiday-depression#what-is-it.

Understanding Post-Holiday Depression And Blues Post-Holiday Depression: Causes And How To Snap Out Of It. (2021, November 8). Psycom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1996. https://www.psycom.net/depression/post-holiday-depression.

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