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Combat Those Post-Holiday Blues

While the glitz and warmth of the holidays can carry you through the early parts of winter, the new year can seem bleak when the holidays are over. Post-holiday stress and depression aren't unusual; after so many months of planning, buying gifts, attending parties and seeing loved ones, life can seem boring and sad. If you're already dreading the post-holiday blues, don't worry. With these tips, you might be able to make the new year a time of resurgence, peace, and satisfaction.

Plan Something New

One reason the weeks after the holidays are a huge let down is because they're so devoid of structured activity. You may have had a ton of social obligations during the holiday season, and an abrupt ceasing of all that activity can be upsetting.

Therefore, you need to give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe you'd like to start traveling once a month. Perhaps you've always wanted to learn another language or take up swing dancing. Before the holidays wind down and the blues settle in, start looking for new adventures for the new year.

using a diffuser in bedroom Try Aromatherapy

You might be aware that essential oils exist, but you may think that they're only for scenting a room. In fact, when you know something about aromatherapy , the practice of using essential oils and other plant extracts, you may be delighted to discover that these oils do much more.

When you're feeling down, especially during the holiday season, aromatic and topical use of these scented oils can improve your mood.

If you'd like to experiment with these oils, there are many which are reputed to be great for emotions and enhance feelings of wellness. Bergamot , lime , lemon , and other citrus oils are widely considered to be mood-lifters, for example. In fact, Israeli neurobiologists did a study on the most popular smells and four of the top five were citrus scents. 1 Whether it's because citrus fruits make people think of warmer months or the properties of the oils themselves, you'll think of sunshine shining through the clouds when you use citrus essential oils.

Many studies have been done on the ability of lavender to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety. In one study, those who inhaled three drops of lavender oil in a room diffuser every eight hours for about two weeks showed marked improvement and relief from negative feelings. 2 Peppermint is also reputed to be good for easing anxiety.

Once you know which essential oils can ease those holiday blues, what do you do with them after purchasing the little bottles? There are multiple ways to experience the many benefits of these oils on your mood. While you're putting away the Christmas tree or cleaning holiday dishes, for instance, you can put a few bergamot drops into a diffuser and allow the scent to fill the room. Diffusing oils is a fantastic way to fill a space with these healing oils, and everyone in the room can enjoy and benefit from them.

You might also put one or two peppermint drops directly from the bottle onto your wrists; then, cup your hands together and slowly inhale the invigorating scent. This is great for times when you're out at work or going somewhere. If you're taking a car ride, there are also mini-diffusers which can help.

To increase the feeling of wellness, you can blend some oils instead of just using them alone. For example, blending cedarwood and lavender in your diffuser will give a room a sense of peace and might help you fall asleep more quickly. Lemon and peppermint can be an uplifting blend to roll on your wrists or on the back of your neck. Blending sweeter smelling oils like rose and bergamot with woodsy oils like sandalwood and cedarwood can offer a sense of peace and calm.

Ease Back Into Your Schedule

Sometimes post-holiday blues are linked to going back to work and stressful regular life. This is especially so if you have had vacation time for the holidays. To combat the strain and stress of returning to work, do your best to ease back in. For example, you might arrange to avoid going back for a full week as soon as the holidays have concluded. You might only go back a few days in that first week. Try doing about half of what you'd do in a regular week so that you can gradually get back up to speed.

You might even want to take a full week to practice the kind of self-care that you didn't get time for over the holidays. With so much to do to prepare for the holidays, you may have neglected your exercise routine or your sleep schedule. Giving yourself space and time to get yourself back to "normal" can have very positive effects on your feelings when you must return to work or school.

coffee table with plant on it Decorate Your Spaces

Taking down the holiday decorations can feel especially sad. Your home or workspace may look so empty without bright, festive decorations to make you feel good. What may help is to continue having decoration fun. You can decorate for the next big holiday or otherwise renovate the space with art, photos, and plants. This will eliminate the feeling that the space is "empty" and give you something beautiful to look at in the new year.

Keep Going Out

Your holiday season may have been a flurry of parties, get-togethers and gift exchanges with relatives and friends. You may have felt great to see people you haven't seen in a while or to spend real time with those you love most. That doesn't have to end just because the holidays did. Try to keep your schedule full of social events with people you really like.

The post-holiday blues isn't something you need to fear. When you have ideas and techniques for feeling better and embracing the seasons ahead, you'll find that you don't feel as bad as you had thought you would. Use these suggestions for triumphing over your blues and replacing them with hope for the future.

Photo credits: NewAfrica/, benbryant/, SydaProductions/

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