How to Bounce Back After the Holidays and Avoid Holiday Regression

Young couple quarreling with holiday décor in the background

The holiday season can be a time of pure joy, celebration, and quality family time. But it can also be a time of exhaustion, depletion, and feeling like you’ve taken several steps back. That’s why it’s so important to practice self-care and create a post-holiday routine to help you bounce back to your pre-holiday levels of productivity. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to avoid the post-holiday regression commonly experienced in the weeks and months after the holidays.

Post-Holiday Regression Is Common

There are several reasons why post holiday regression is common. During the holiday season, our daily routines are often disrupted. We may have more time off work, social gatherings to attend, and additional responsibilities to manage. After the holidays, it can be challenging to return to our regular routine, which can be stressful and overwhelming.

The holiday season can be expensive, with gift-giving, travel, and entertaining costs adding up quickly. The financial stress of the holiday season can linger long after the festivities are over, as people face credit card bills and other expenses.

High expectations and social pressure is a stressor. Attending events, spending time with family and friends, and participating in holiday traditions can be a lot. The pressure to create the perfect holiday experience can be overwhelming, and the post-holiday letdown can be significant.

Holidays are often a time of heightened emotion, particularly for those who have experienced trauma, grief, or loss. Memories and emotions associated with past experiences can be triggered during the holiday season, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.

For those living in the northern hemisphere, the winter months can be challenging due to the lack of sunlight. This can lead to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is characterized by symptoms of depression and lethargy.

It’s important to recognize that post-holiday regression is a common experience, and it’s okay to struggle during this time. By taking care of yourself, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support when needed, you can navigate the post-holiday period and emerge feeling renewed and ready to tackle the challenges of the new year.

Self-Care Strategies to Recharge After the Holidays

The holidays are a time for celebration and joy, but it isn’t always that way for everyone After the festivities have passed, many find themselves facing exhaustion and stress from overindulging in food, drink and activities. The need to recharge emotionally during this period is often over looked, but it’s important to take time to recharge. 

First and foremost, practice self-compassion. Be kind and gentle with yourself during this time. Recognize that it’s normal to feel a bit down after the holidays, and allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgment.

Set realistic goals. The new year can be a time for setting goals and resolutions, but it’s essential to be realistic and set achievable goals. Setting unattainable goals can lead to feelings of disappointment and frustration, which can contribute to post-holiday blues.

Create a self-care routine. Make time for self-care activities that you enjoy, such as taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or practicing yoga. Make these activities a part of your daily routine to help boost your mood and reduce stress.

Stay connected. Although the holidays are over, it’s essential to maintain social connections. Make plans to meet up with friends, join a club or group, or connect with others online. Staying connected can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Get active. Exercise is an excellent way to boost your mood and reduce stress. Make time for physical activity, such as going for a run, taking a dance class, or hitting the gym.

Practice gratitude. Focus on the things you’re grateful for and make a habit of expressing gratitude each day. This can help shift your perspective and bring more positivity into your life.

Plan something to look forward to. Planning a vacation or weekend getaway can give you something to look forward to and help you get through the post-holiday period.

 Tips to manage holiday regression

Be realistic about your expectations: It’s important to set realistic expectations for the holiday season. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday experience. Focus on what’s most important to you and your loved ones and let go of the rest.

Practice self-care: Self-care is critical during the holiday season. Take time for yourself to relax and recharge. This could be anything from taking a long bath to going for a walk in nature.

Reach out for support: If you’re struggling with holiday regression, reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for support. Talking about your feelings can help you process them and gain perspective.

Take breaks when you need to: It’s okay to take a break from the holiday festivities if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Set boundaries and take breaks when you need to.

Focus on gratitude: Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can help shift your perspective during the holiday season. Take time to reflect on the things you’re grateful for and focus on the positive aspects of the holiday season.

Remember, holiday regression is common, and it’s okay to struggle during this time. By taking care of yourself, seeking support when you need it, and focusing on what’s most important to you, you can manage holiday regression and enjoy the holiday season in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling.

Maha Elias is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Comprehensive Family Mediator (FMC), and sexual health and trauma-informed couples therapist with a private counselling practice in Victoria, British Columbia.

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