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Dealing with holiday letdown

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

After the frenzy - sadness

After weeks of build-up, it's over. Just like that, the holidays are done. But there may be one last unexpected "gift" of the season: serious holiday letdown. Whether you are just a little bummed out or seriously sad, post-holiday letdown is a very normal thing - and there are some things you can do to combat it.

After the frenzy - sadness

I myself realized letdown already was beginning by mid-afternoon on Christmas day. After so much effort on behalf of family and friends, and even though we were having a very good day, I was feeling just a touch off. I was exhausted - and emotionally spent, too.

Luckily I was able to recognize what was happening quite quickly. And the sooner you recognize the issues, the sooner you can deal with them.

Recognize and validate your feelings

Holiday letdown is very common. You are not alone! Confide in a close friend or family member about your feelings. One year I told a friend about my blah feelings just after the holidays and it turns out she was feeling the same thing. We were able to support one another in the following weeks with daily check-ins on each other. It helped both of us turn our focus outward, which in turn helped each of us push through the feelings.

Watch your diet

Now is the time to get back to the healthy/healthier eating - don't wait until the New Year! Make sure you are getting a balance of fruits and vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. You don't have to eat all the cookies you made - freeze some for a special treat months from now. Watch your alcohol consumption.

Get some exercise and some fresh air

I can't say enough about the role of endorphins to help balance your mood. As a woman who once claimed to be allergic to regular exercise, I can tell you than I am converted. Regular physical activity has really helped my mental health as well as my physical health. You don't need to go out and train for a marathon, but a start with some nice long walks. If the sun is shining, get out there! And, as an added bonus, a bit of exercise can get you a head start on dealing with some of those spare holiday calories.

Keep some structure

Getting back to your usual routine can help you get through your days. Just as structure is good for small children, it's can be good for grown-ups, too. If Tuesday usually is laundry do, then stick to that plan and do the laundry. Likewise regular outings to the market and playgroups.

Plan some time to take care of yourself

If you are like many moms, you spent so much time taking care of other people and other things during the last crazy weeks that you neglected yourself. Now is the time to schedule a pedicure or a massage, schedule time to sit down and read that new book you received, or schedule overdue medical appointments. At any rate and however you do it, it's time to recharge. You deserve it.

Your kids might be feeling it, too

If you are feeling letdown as the holiday season winds down, so might your kids. Take some time to check in with them, and consider the same ways to help them if they are feeling blue. It might even be the perfect time to come together as a family and create a new blues-busting post-holiday tradition. An annual January day-trip perhaps? Kid input into healthy new meals? Family bike-rides every New Year's Day?

Holiday letdown is very normal for everyone in the family. Recognizing and dealing with it doesn't have to be onerous or embarrassing. And the results can be a true gift of the holiday.

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