Holiday Recovery: Keep Post-Holiday Happiness Alive

After the holidays many of us feel a bit of a let-down when the parties are over, family and friends have gone, and the gifts are all unwrapped and put away. We spend weeks, even months, preparing for the holiday, and now it's come to an abrupt end. Although we may long for the holiday cheer of the recent weeks, we don't need to lose ourselves to post-holiday blues.

Try some of these proven strategies to keep post-holiday happiness alive:

Do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to a massage or facial with that holiday check or gift certificate you received. If spas aren't your thing, take yourself out for a walk in a beautiful park or have tea with some of your closest friends. Doing something nice for yourself nurtures your heart and soul and goes a long way toward keeping post-holiday happiness alive.

De-clutter. The busy holiday season can leave your home a mess. You may have put vacuuming, dusting and organizing on the backburner for a few weeks. Get rid of excess papers, magazines, unused gifts, clothes you never wear, broken or outdated electronics, and knick-knacks. Whether you sell, trade, donate or throw away, the process of cleaning up and de-cluttering will lighten your mood. Tip: Ask yourself, "What is my vision for myself in the new year and which of my possessions support this vision?"

Write a gratitude letter. Expressing gratitude can be a powerful way to keep post-holiday happiness alive. Write a letter of gratitude to someone important to you and experience a huge boost in your mood.

Get some exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep happiness alive.  When you exercise, you produce endorphins, which are the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals. Regular exercise has not only shown to help people suffering from depression, but can actually help ward off its onset. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym, or try a yoga class.

Smile more often. Studies show that when you smile, it has a positive effect on your mood. If you are feeling some of the post-holiday blues, put on a smile and feel the effect. Also try smiling at people around you and see how infectious it is.

Get adequate sleep. Too little sleep can have a considerable influence on your mood. To keep post-holiday happiness alive, make the quality and quantity of your sleep a priority. Research suggests that most adults need between seven and nine hours each night. Help yourself get adequate sleep by setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time.

Schedule fun time. Just because the holidays are over, you don't have to give up on having fun. Shake up your work week by scheduling a fun activity at least one night of the week. Go see a movie, meet up with friends for dinner, or take a class you've been longing to attend.

Choose to be happy. You may not have control over some of the circumstances in your life, but you have the ability to control how you respond to those circumstances. Instead of choosing to be sad, angry, or resentful - choose to be happy. It may feel awkward or forced at first, but stay with it. Like with anything new, once you get some practice, you'll discover how much easier it becomes.

With these strategies, the post-holiday blues don't have to be a part of your life this year. Remember to focus on things that give you the most happiness and you'll be well on your way to keeping post-holiday happiness alive.


Greenberg, B. Wrung-Out by Ringing in the Holidays. Oct. 19, 2008. Accessed Dec. 14, 2009.

Holiday Recovery: The Post-Holiday Slump. Southwestern Medical Center. Accessed Dec. 14, 2009.

Lawrence, S. Blow Off Post-Holiday Blues. Accessed Dec. 14, 2009.