Post Christmas Holiday Blues? Give Yourself an Emotional Cleanse to Celebrate the New Year

“Spend the next few days preparing for the year ahead: Forgive everyone, let go of everything…” ~Marianne Williamson

For Psych Central – By Joyce Marter, LCPC

Blue horizon aligned

Creative Commons LicenseDespite having had what many would consider a very happy holiday, I have a post-Christmas “hangover”—a psychologically tired and bloated feeling resulting from excess of seemingly everything. With the holiday decorations and all of my family’s new gifts, our house feels like an episode of A&E Hoarders. After over-socializing and celebrating, I crave solitude and quietness. Rich food and drink have made me never want to look at a chocolate turtle again and to hit the treadmill with a vengeance. My emotional equilibrium is off-balance from re-triggered grief of the losses of my parents years ago, who I wish were here, especially during the holidays. The volume of my inner critic has somehow turned way up, as I’m filled with self-doubt and second-guess if what I have given to or done for my kids, family, friends and staff is either too much or somehow not enough…

Through my practice, I know that post-holiday blues is something that many of us experience. If you can relate to my post-holiday “hangover,” join me in doing this “emotional cleanse”:

  1. Move self-care to the absolute top of the list.  Catch up on sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat light and healthy foods. Exercise to increase up your endorphins, nature’s antidepressant. Take fish oil as a shortage of vitamin D from dark winter days can exacerbate depression. Do nice things for yourself—take a bubble bath, get a massage (perhaps give one to get one!), lovingly groom and dress yourself so you feel both comfortable and confident. Give yourself at least 20 minutes of quiet time for deep breathing, stretching or meditation. Don’t over-schedule yourself.
  2. Turn down the volume on your inner critic and let go of shame. Understand that as human beings we are works in progress. Select a positive mantra, such as, “I am only human and I am doing the best that I can” or “nobody is perfect and I am exactly as I should be.” Look at the good parts and give yourself credit for all good intentions and all you have accomplished.
  3. Understand that all things happen for a reason and all is as it should be. Life has a rhythm of ebbs and flows. Understand that just as a pendulum swings, these periods of excess create opportunity for a compensatory process of “letting go” so that all can return to homeostasis.
  4. Tend to your environment. Purge everything you don’t want, need, use or value. Make room for peace and joy. Clean, organize and decorate your home so it is a sanctuary.
  5. Honor your feelings and let them go. Your feelings are always normal responses to everything you have experienced over the course of your life. Allow yourself to feel your feelings in your heart and body. Thank your feelings for the wisdom they have brought you. Breathe into them and breathe them out, releasing them completely.
  6. Reflect on the past year. Identify events or experiences for which you harbor resentment or negative feelings and do not wish to welcome into the New Year. Write these down on paper. Extend compassion to yourself, others and these experiences by reading each aloud after stating, “I forgive and release everyone and everything related to XYZ…”  Say good-bye to these experiences and commit to leaving them in the past. Ceremoniously shred or burn the paper. Give yourself a moment of quietness, prayer or meditation to reboot your mind, body and spirit.

This emotional cleanse will free you from psychological toxins, allowing yourself to start the year from a place of balance and wellness. Welcome joy, health and prosperity in the New Year!

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