How to beat the post-holiday blues

Tracey & Travis

After weeks (or maybe even months) of shopping for the perfect gifts, baking, entertaining, and decorating, it can feel like – once the holidays are officially over and the calendar flips to January – things come to a screeching halt. Getting motivated and back into the swing of the normal day-to-day may be difficult once the pretty lights have come down, the gifts are put away, and tables are emptier, as loved ones are not around. People who suffer from post-holiday blues may experience lethargy, irritability, or even just a general lack of joy or enthusiasm over anything. It’s even more challenging if you spent the holidays away from friends and family that are far away, or as an expat in a foreign country. Know you’re not alone – it’s incredibly common to feel sadness after the busy holiday season. Here are a few ways you can feel happier this January!

Take care of your body
The holidays typically mean indulgence for many of us: rich foods and alcohol, not enough time to get proper exercise, and just going non-stop to get everything done. This is not limited to just physical health – those who are more introverted typically need a reprieve from the craziness of the holidays too. Although it can feel impossible, doing things like exercising (even just a quick walk around the block) can help! Finding a way to experience nature can also put your mind at ease. Take your bike to a local trail or take a hike in your favourite local park. The fresh air will make you feel much better.

Look forward
After the holidays, the start of a New Year is the perfect time to start anew and look forward to considering all the new opportunities that are coming your way. When you are looking forward instead of backward, the shift to the day-to-day drudge won’t feel nearly as intense. Making both short and long-term plans can bring some excitement into your life, whether it’s daydreaming about your perfect vacation, trying to make a dish you’ve been dying to make, or something as simple as looking forward to spending time with friends. One of my favorite ways to get excited? Explore all the Netherlands has to offer! Visiting new cities can be very rewarding! Plan a day trip to Gouda, a weekend trip to Maastricht, or a getaway to one of the Wadden islands. A change of scenery can help you reset.

Practice gratitude
One of the best ways to unwind after a long day and encourage better rest is to reframe the mind and focus on the things in life that you are grateful for. Buy yourself a beautiful journal (HEMA has such pretty ones!) and each night, write down three to five things that you appreciate in your life. The post-holiday blues can make it hard to find meaning in life and can make you feel like there is no point in trying to achieve anything, but by shining a spotlight on the positive things in your life, you’ll also be able to better see all that you have to be thankful for. Perhaps you’re grateful to be in a country that feels safer than your home country, or even something as silly as a portion of bitterballen at your local brown bar. Practicing gratitude daily may help your mind relax as well, which is ideal right before bedtime, and we know that a good night’s sleep can work wonders!

Written by Tracey Martin