How To Beat The Post Holiday Blues

(( By Ryan Burch. This article was originally published on Career Contessa.)) 

“I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO WORKKKK.” . 

How many times have you caught yourself saying that? Or perhaps some other variation like: “I DON’T WANT IT TO END!!” or “WHY CAN'T I BE ON BREAK FOREVER??”

Who can blame us?

The holidays are a blast, measured in twinkly lights, sweet treats, and shiny new toys. Returning to work and responsibilities can sound (and feel) like the ultimate buzz kill. 

But we can’t be carb loading, excessive drinking, lazy bums forever. Nothing compares to the sweet solace of lounging on your parents couch for days on end—but when reality calls, we have to find a way to get up, and get through, the dreaded “holiday blues.”

So what’s the cure?

1. PICK UP A NEW SKILL

There’s nothing more exciting (and fulfilling) than developing confidence in an area that you haven’t had before.

What have you always wanted to try? What do you wish you could do better?

Instead of tinkering around on social media when you have down time, seize every moment of this New Year to develop yourself in a greater way.

Buy a Rosetta Stone language program, sign up for 30 days of yoga, attempt to build something, draw something, learn to be a better leader, reader, or a better public speaker. The resources are all around you to help you acquire new skills (or as my tech friend says, “Google yourself to greatness.”)

In short: make a resolution based on self-improvement and figure out how stick to it.

2. THE 3 Rs: REFOCUS AND RECHARGE WITH A STRATEGIC ROUTINE

Because the holidays are all about overindulgence, most of us fall away from our healthier habits—leading to dread and disappointment once we realize that we’ve got to get our butts back in shape. 

The best way to refocus, recharge, and feel more positive? Sit down one or two days per week, and plan out your schedule for the following few days. Factor in all work, social, financial, and personal commitments, and strategize when and how to fit it all in—by the hour (but be realistic).

If you are making it your goal to improve your health, your to-do list should include tasks that will help you remain consistent, such as: best time to buy groceries, what nights to cook at home, when to prep your meals, best times to exercise, when to pick out new gym playlists, etc.

Carefully pre-planning your week will keep you from wasting time unproductively, and allow you to feel much more confident and in control of your life.

3. DO SOME GOOD: VOLUNTEER

Are you still feeling down?

One of the best ways to get through a slump is to do something for others in need.

With all of life’s priorities, volunteering can be the last thing we make time for—but it’s by far the most rewarding.

Text or call a girlfriend right now, and ask if she’d be willing to volunteer somewhere with you. Think about what you’d like to change in the world, and look up a charity that aligns with your interests. It could be once a week, or even once a month—but every bit of your time helps.

4. PURGE!

Cleaning out your closet (or just reorganizing) will give you a heightened sense of clarity and renewal as you face another new year.

I’m a huge fan of reselling my clothes at Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, Wasteland, or on Ebay. Another great way to spice up your closet is to hold a clothing swap. My girlfriends and I do this every few months, and it’s a great way to pick up new goods without spending a dime.

We connect memories to what we wear, and we draw confidence from what we wear as well. Purging, swapping, and reselling your clothes is an affordable and refreshing way to start anew, and it will give you something to look forward to each morning as well.

5. CREATE A REWARD SYSTEM

This really ties all the previous four methods together.

It becomes harder to stick to new goals and routines if you’re bored in the process. Therefore, it’s critical to create your own system of rewards for every bit of progress and improvement that you make in each week.

Usually, I recommend non-food rewards, as these are the kind that don’t cause guilt down the line. Once a week, treat yourself to something soothing, such as a mani/pedi, fresh flowers, a new candle, or a mini massage. Bring back the piggy bank if there’s something you really want—but can’t afford just yet.

6. LAUGH

Figure out what makes you laugh, and make time for it regularly. Is it a sitcom that helps you go to bed happy? Is it going to a comedy show, inviting your girlfriends over for a spa night, or calling up your BFF back home who you can chat with for hours?

If you’re sad, you can easily counteract those feelings with laughter & positivity (the truest medicine for the soul).

As humans, we tend to fall into bad moods when we feel unfulfilled, unsatisfied, bored, or disappointed. Hopefully, these 6 tips will help you counteract the post-holiday dread, and put back a little pep in your step as you face another new year!