So, the big holiday kerfuffle is over. Presents unwrapped, to cries of joy, or frowns of hidden disappointment, or gasps of horror: ‘You bought me that? What were you thinking?”The decorations are down. The clean up begins – maybe our home looks suddenly dull, boring, even scruffy but we lack the energy to do anything about it.
We’re back to our day jobs, all the late nights and late mornings, the excitement, the visitors, the feel-good factor of being free of the everyday, all that is gone.
It’s dull outside, and unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, it’s pretty cold. –23C here right now, and snow. Even the birds seem depressed.
And so do many people. It’s hard to get back into the groove. You’re tired, despite a good night’s sleep – if you were lucky enough to get one. Writing seems such a big effort – and why bother, when all those dreams of success and a huge readership, or of good reviews and praise for great writing, all seem so unattainable now?
It’s the post-holiday blahs. Which will soon become the February blahs.
There are lots of myths about suicide stats around holiday times, and I say ‘myths’ because the whole holiday thing is actually a kind of life raft, lifting us out of the daily grind, full of hope.
Then come the Blahs. The depression stats for January aren’t mythical, nor are the rising numbers of suicides at this dark and cold time of the year, post party. The ‘goodwill’ is over, the bills are coming in, and a whole other work year looms ahead. After all the hype and expectations of the holidays, is it any wonder that the day after New Year’s Day brings a hard landing down to earth and reality?
Time to take action.
The odds are good you’re not depressed in the clinical sense, but if you think you are, of if suicide tends to creep into your thoughts a lot, you need to drag yourself over to your doctor’s office. He or she may suggest anti-depressants, and they can be a good start to getting back to your usual self. Better yet, a good counselor can be a life saver, literally. Many professionals believe that a short-term drug intervention, combined with counseling, is the answer to depression for most clients. Remember that a good counselor doesn’t just sit and listen, she helps you find the root of your problems, and to find the solution that you need, as well as developing coping mechanisms to keep the Black Dog of depression away.
But if you’re just feeling down, dissatisfied and restless, a good start is to get back into a routine. That may not be your pre-holiday routine – perhaps you need something more, such as greater stimulus or more free time.
Maybe there are things in your life you need to change, and that’s something to think seriously about. Get out your notebook, write them down, then write the obstacles, the pros and cons, to each one, and list some possible solutions. Choose the best solutions and see how you can implement them.
Maybe it’s just the letdown after the holidays. The big annual holiday brings with it a lot of stress, physical demands leading to exhaustion, unrealistic expectations (your own or someone else’s), and the feelings of inadequacy coming from the sheer over-commercialization. Family get togethers can be a source of tension and leave you feeling depleted. Or perhaps you couldn’t see your family because they’re too far away, or maybe you were alone and it seemed everyone else was having a great time. Blah!
Here are some links you might find useful. Or you could get a copy of my book, Depression: The Essential Guide!
Have you found a routine that gets you our of the blahs and into a happy routine? Please share in a comment here for others who may be going through the blahs.