You survived the holiday. Maybe it was a good holiday, one you enjoyed. Then suddenly Monday comes, the Monday that all goes back to the same routine. Not only are you hit with all the issues that have been put on hold for two weeks, you also hear about the fantasy holidays that some people enjoyed. Suddenly your holiday pales in comparison.
Just the change in routine can be stressful, whether you go back to your daily routine at home or back to a job. For emotionally sensitive people, the post-holiday adjustment can be a challenge.
1. No comparisons. The perfect holiday doesn’t exist and you never really know the details of what’s happening in someone else’s life. comparisons are usually not based on complete information and can only upset you. Don’t.
If you are disappointed in your holidays, think about what problems you can solve for next year. How can you make the holidays have more meaning for you and better fit your values? Holidays are not one size fits all and having a large family get together is not the only way to celebrate them.
Maybe your disappointment is based in unrealistic expectations. The grouch in the family is not likely to suddenly become Mr. Nice Guy just because it’s the holidays.
2. Be prepared for the shock of the first day back. Maybe the first week. In DBT terms, cope ahead. If you are returning to work, you will be out of practice dealing with the stress of your job. Most likely there will be lots of issues that have been on hold. Be ready to stay in the moment, doing one thing at a time. Expect that it may be a difficult time. Take breaks. Set realistic expectations.
3. Missing family and friends. For some of you, spending time with family and friends is uplifting and joyful. You love that. Then the holidays are over and you don’t see them as often. If that’s the case for you, try to schedule more time with your friends and family. Maybe plan a trip to visit. If they live close, put more time in your schedule to get together with them.
You can also savor the time you spent with family and friends. Perhaps write them a note, relating the special moments you enjoyed sharing with them this past holiday. Consider putting together photos of the holiday to share with them.
4. Missing the excitement. If the holidays were an exciting time full of activities, then you may be hit with boredom or being disinterested in what seems like a mundane week. If that’s the case, plan something interesting to do. Plan a party for February or do out-of-the-routine activities on the weekends such as go-karting, exploring a new area of your city, or having a scavenger hunt with your family. Make January a month to explore new places and activities.
5. Missing having people around. Get out, volunteer, make plans with friends, call, take classes. Practice kindness to others and yourself. You may be tempted to withdraw and isolate. That will only make the loneliness more intense.
6. Lack of meaning/purpose. If you hosted the holiday and now you have little to do and feel at a loss for a purpose, think about what meaning you want the day to have. Not necessarily the meaning of your whole life, but the meaning of today. You can also think about and explore what your gift is for others. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, has said her purpose is to love. Your purpose might be about being kind to others, uplifting others, or to advocate for your children.
7. Lack of fun. If you only really have fun during the holidays, then think about ways to create joy in your life every day. Find ways to laugh and smile. Do new activities. Watch children and pets. Play games. Practice having fun.
8. Self-Care. You may be emotionally and physically tired. Perhaps exhausted. Be mindful of what you need. Soothe yourself in the ways that work best for you. Focus on self-care.
Best Wishes for 2016!
You can also find us at:
The Emotionally Sensitive Person
The Power of Validation
SAVVY: Communication Skills for Family and Friends of Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
Mindfulness Skills for DBT Therapists (for skills groups)