I was going to title this post “Beating the Post-Holiday Blues” but then I realized that my whole point is that I’m trying to beat them. And if I’m feeling this way, I suspect at least one other person out there is as well.
New Year’s Eve has never been one of my favorite holidays. I’ve had a mix of duds – like the year my mother had us celebrate as a family by watching a Rex Humbard special so we could celebrate the new year with a hug and a prayer. It turns out that we were actually watching a pre-recorded Rex Humbard special that had no relevance to New Year’s Eve. I think we discovered sometime around 12:15.
Apparently the same thing happened when we went to celebrate as a family at the local bowling alley. While I’m sure the late night bowling was fun (I have no recollection of this New Year’s Eve – I think I mentally blocked it out), midnight came and went without so much as a “Bowlers, please hold your balls as we approach midnight.”
Most of the time, I just celebrate casually with friends and some good Champagne. I’ve never done the fancy-couple-pay-hundreds-of-dollars-for-a-single-night-out thing. I think in my 20s I would have loved the chance to do this even once. But now, I’m perfectly content to watch everyone else freeze their arses off in Times Square from the comfort of my own home.
The evening goes well with a toast and a kiss and off to bed shortly thereafter. And the next morning, provided I haven’t had too much Champagne, I start easing into the new year.
I don’t start it with a sense of earnestness or that It’s a New Year and things are going to be DIFFERENT! kind of feeling. It’s just another day and as the days start pushing into the new year, that same feeling inevitably creeps up.
I see the end of the year as the finish line. Phew. We made it. We covered all four seasons, everyone had a birthday, our work is done for the year.
And then it starts all over again. I’m back at the starting line and I don’t know how long this race is going to be or even how hard it’s going to be. Will there be more uphills than downhills? Will there be a test? Am I properly conditioned for this race?
I don’t consciously think of all this. It just creeps up on me until I find myself immobile under the covers wanting to go back to those few days before Christmas where our houses smell like cookies and presents are under the tree in anticipation of one glorious morning and a week of enjoyment before the new year looms in.
It goes deeper than that. And even a little darker, but I’ll save that for my therapist.
Maybe it’s the cold gray weather getting to me. Maybe it’s taking down all the beautiful Christmas decorations that made my house a little cramped but cozy. Maybe it’s all these damn runners talking about their marathons. I guess I’m just a Scrooge when it comes to the new year. But I don’t want to be.
So if you came here because you feel the same, I’m not going to leave you in a sad state of commiseration. I’m trying to put together some ideas to pull me out of this funk. Here goes.
- Plan a vacation. It helps to have some fun to look forward to even if it’s an overnight at Aunt Sally’s and it’s 10 months down the road.
- Rearrange your furniture. Chances are you had to rearrange for your holiday decorations so now’s the time to give your home a refresh.
- Make up some words. No, really. I decided to create some “words” for the year. My plans for the year are to FOCUS and SIMPLIFY. I’m using both of those words to help keep me going.
- Talk a walk. I’m serious. Get on the treadmill or, preferably, get outside. Even gray sunshine is still sunshine.
- Get some alone time. For me, I need to physically get in the car and go someplace by myself. The change of scenery helps change my mood.
- Interact with people. If you’re like me, when you’re in a funk, you like to hide even when your favorite people come around. Go ahead and get together and fake it. And you’ll be surprised at how quickly the fake interactions become real.
- Have a good cry. Maybe you’re not sad or depressed. Maybe you’re just overwhelmed or underwhelmed. It doesn’t matter. An emotional release still helps.
Am I alone here? Have some ideas to shake the post-holiday blues? Please share – and quickly!