The Post-Holiday Blues
It happens earlier every year. The Christmas music on the radio. I remember having to buy tapes and CDs (this shows my age) if I wanted to listen to Christmas music around the holidays.
When they started playing Christmas music all day everyday in December until Christmas, I thought this was the best thing ever. Okay, not the best thing ever, but pretty darn close. Eventually, they started playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Now it’s the day after Halloween. I’m sure this was due to multiple people who wanted to feel that holiday bliss even sooner. Nowadays, if you are signed up for a streaming service like Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube you can stream your favorite ten Christmas songs by 20 different artists all year long.
This availability to tap into our nostalgic childhood feelings of the holidays gives us a quick but everlasting good feeling (for those of us who experienced half decent Christmases and have fond memories of Christmases past, and those who just plain celebrated Christmas).
But this Kris Kringle jolt of joy over the two months leading up to that one special day of gift giving and receiving comes to an abrupt end on December 26th when the music stops and the morning radio alarm music is now pop music again. Perhaps, it is a merciful relief to some to not hear Jingle Bell Rock first thing in the morning. However, for many, like myself, it is a shocking shift to business-as-usual.
The Post-Holiday Blues is a brick wall smashed into by those who were driving in the holiday cruising commuter lane. We get into that groove that everyday will be splashed by St. Nick cheer and Silent Nights with baby Jesus. Then one morning, literally, you wake up and the day that we had been singing about and preparing for has passed. It is over. Sweep up the gift wrapping and candy cane crumbs because it is time to get back to work.
Some people were visiting friends and family and now are back home. Some people had those friends and family visiting and have had to say goodbye for maybe another year. It is good that a week later we have New Year’s to give us another break after having to drag ourselves back into the office, construction site, or whatever place of business we happen to spend the majority of our time.
During the course of a year we have a routine. As the year ends, sometimes, we throw those routines out the window. We don’t exercise or write or eat or stick to our budgets. We take days off of work, get out of town for a bit, or just get plain lazy with everything. Then the Christmas music stops and we are thrown back into our lives. Work deadlines, a few extra pounds, budgets in chaos, expectations to fulfill obligations, school work, and whatever else we chose to say “Screw it. It’s the holidays” to.
The sun comes up a bit brighter. The rain comes down a little longer. The snow now reminds us that winter has only begun and it will be a long three months. Reality is real. No more ‘Tis the-Season glasses to gaze through to fool ourselves into delusions that all year can be yuletide festive fun.
We can get into a funk. The crash into that sobering wall of holiday’s end can be downright hard to recover from. We like that good feeling of anticipating Christmas morning, being off work, sitting around most of the day in our jammies, drinking eggnog lattes and opening gifts of things we asked for.
The thing to know is that it is okay to feel down. It is okay that you hate (hate, hate, hate) having to get up and go to work or your former life routine. Feeling badly is okay. We’re going to feel badly that the good times are over. It is natural. Go ahead, feel down. Look down at the ground, kick that invisible rock and say “Ah, man. I miss the holidays.”
But don’t let it keep you down. The holidays are supposed to remind us that we can be a little happier, people can be a little nicer, and days off can be spent doing things other than chores and errands.
When we accept our feelings and allow our bodies to experience them, they can’t weigh us down. We only get weighed down by them if we stuff them down to pile up on each other or we use them as fuel to ruminate in our sorrow.
I know there are folks who don’t celebrate the holidays, so this post may not be for you. Not everything I write will be for everybody all the time. But the sentiment of this post can be for all those who celebrated something and had the time abruptly end leaving you with a sadness or emptiness that you don’t know what to do with. For those folks, know it is okay to feel down or not feel something because your body and mind are in a small state a shock. Abrupt changes will do that to us humans. So, let yourself feel or not feel knowing that it is normal.
Talk about this new change with others. Don’t keep it in. Don’t be alone with it. Do what you can to share your sadness or emptiness by talking about the good times you had and the desire to do it again. Explore the “why” of how you feel. Get to know and accept that part of you, because we get to do this all again next year.