How do I cope with post-holiday blues?

With the holidays officially over, it’s time to resume everyday life and business. However, coming down from the high of the “most wonderful time of the year” can be difficult for many people. Instead of greeting the New Year with excitement and working on New Year’s resolutions, they suffer from post-holiday blues.

What are post-holiday blues?

Post-holiday blues, also known as post-vacation blues/syndrome, is a type of mood persons returning from a long holiday to a normal routine may experience. The common symptoms of post-holiday blues include insomnia, tiredness, irritability, and anxiousness. Compared to depression, this distress is short-term and usually goes away without any medical intervention. Possible culprits for post-holiday blues include your body recovering from festive feasts, exhaustion from intense emotion and stress, contrasting between the busy holidays and less-exciting post-Christmas periods, as well as adrenaline comedown.

What are some ways to fight post-holiday blues?

● Take care of yourself. The holiday period tends to be full of sugar, fat, alcohol-fueled diets, and sleep deprivation. They not only make you out of shape, but also can trigger depression. Eating balanced meals, exercising regularly, and getting some good rest are essential to get back on track physically and mentally. You might notice a mood boost even with small changes like having a 10-minute daily walk after dinner.
● Schedule time for fun. The holidays do not have to be the only time for celebration and get-togethers. Reach out to families and friends you care about. Talk to them, share your feelings, or even plan a dinner/movie night because social interactions can enhance well-beings. The New Year is also a great time to start a hobby or picking back up ones you enjoyed in the past. These activities can distract you from the overwhelming emotions.
● Be patient and go easy on yourself. Please remember the adjustment after  family gatherings and festive parties takes time, so don’t beat yourself for feeling unmotivated or
sad. Set realistic New Year’s resolutions. It is disappointing when we don’t make goals because they were unattainable in the first place. Make taking care of your mental
health part of the New Year’s resolutions as mental health is the fundamental of our wellbeing.

When should I see the doctor?

Experiencing the following symptoms for weeks may be a sign of depression, and you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. You should also seek help if any of these symptoms interfere with your daily life. With professional support, most people with d

epression or other mental health problems get better, and many recover completely.

● Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
● Lack of interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy
● Having trouble with falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
● Feeling tired or having little energy
● Having poor appetite or overeating
● Having difficulty concentrating on things
● Feeling worthless
● Starting to move or speak very slowly, or becoming fidgety or restless
● Having thoughts that you would be better off dead, or thoughts of hurting yourself

What immediate help is available?

Call 911 immediately to receive emergency assistance for any life-threatening situation.
Trained crisis workers at the following hotlines can help you or your loved ones walk the way through difficult times and towards safety.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):1-800-662-4357
King County 24-hour Crisis Line: 206-461-3222

1. MacCarthy L. Understanding Post-Holiday Depression and Blues. Psycom.
2. Holiday Blues. R Adams Cowley Shock Truma Center, University of Maryland
3. Kroenke K. Patient Health Questionnaire-9.
4. Thorpe JR. This is What Causes the Post-Holiday Blues. Bustle.

Prepared by Wenye Dang PharmD