Well, the holidays are almost over. Weeks of preparation and anticipation have come to a close. This year I started shopping for Christmas gifts earlier than ever. And for the first time, the days leading up to the holidays were actually enjoyable and relatively stress free. However, with so much time and energy given to celebration, I find that the days after the holidays can be difficult. For me, it’s similar to the adrenaline crash after delivering a message at an event or performing on stage. There is such a let down, even if the production was amazing.
So, as I put away the decorations and gear up for regular life again, I recognize my vulnerability to the post-holiday blues. Rather than ignore them or try to power through, I acknowledge that physical and emotional let down are natural responses, and I am gentle with myself for experiencing them. In addition, I place my attention on three key areas.
- It’s still about Jesus. The Christmas story is miraculous and inspiring. There is awe in remembering that God loved the world so much that He left the glory of heaven and arrived as a baby. Fully human and fully divine, He came to fulfill His mission as our Savior. Christmas was just the beginning and led to Easter. Christmas is more than history; it is also present. Jesus came as Emmanuel—God with us. Today in every season and situation, He is still God with us. Every single day is about Jesus. There is power and assurance when I focus on this truth.
- Be kind to yourself. For most of us, the holidays are a time when healthy eating and exercise are put on hold, or at least put on the back burner. Celebration is good, but too much of a good thing takes a toll on our bodies. Post-holiday blues come on the heels of poor self care. Nutrition, physical activity, and adequate rest are not optional. Being kind to myself means getting back on track with proper diet, exercise, and rest in order to strengthen my well being.
- Pay attention to others. When we are depressed, we lose sight of others. Serving others lifts our attention from our own feelings. It is difficult to wallow in the blues when we notice others and seek ways to make a difference in their lives. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I reap the benefits when I love my neighbors as I love myself.
Don’t let the post-holiday blues get you down. As you focus on Jesus, and then yourself and others, you will chase the blues away. Say hello to the New Year with a sense of purpose and joy.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:11).
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:13-14).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24).
Heavenly Father, thank You for this holiday season. I believe that You are Emmanuel, that Your Holy Spirit lives in me. Empower me to live for You, to glorify You with the way I live this life. Help me to care for myself. Help me to love and serve others. As I walk with You, may I say goodbye to the post-holiday blues. In Jesus’ name. Amen.