ked the end of holidays and festivities. Diwali is a widely celebrated festival with four days of different rituals and family traditions. Even if you are someone who doesn’t celebrate Diwali, you had some time off this week and might have gotten a chance to relax and unwind. For some people, it is the time of a lot of activity and work. Small tasks around the house such as cleaning, preparing delicacies and buying gifts for loved ones, start taking precedence over work and other everyday routines. Celebrations can bring moments of happiness. Connecting with your extended family can be a joyous occasion.
But now it is over!
Understandably it’s back to our regularly scheduled programs. Our routines will include regular diets and work meetings. Many will feel this void and descend into the post-holiday blues. With intense activity now being over many will experience stillness and instead of feeling peace the emotions experienced will be morose. There is a sense of emptiness and loneliness.
This is a pretty common response when you think about how our brain responds to the environment around us. Our brain uses mood to trigger memory responses that are stored in the neural networks- i.e., our brain makes connections to related events using the current stimuli. A specific memory can trigger your responses to your emotions. Not necessarily every memory has to be hashed out and walked through. Sometimes it’s okay to just let the emotions flow through you. Whatever blues you might be feeling are not necessarily serious emotional reactions. Overnight you lose the sense of excitement and activity. They are just your mental stored responses to the loss of activity and overstimulation.
One of the most important things to remember about post-holiday blues is that this is not a continuous emotional turmoil. Your brain is just re-adjusting to less stimulating circumstances. If you for some reason were unable to celebrate the holidays due to work or some personal issue you might experience a sense of loss & holiday envy. Holiday envy is a phenomenon when people who were not able to celebrate or take a vacation start feeling resentful or jealous of other people who were able to do the same. These feelings are both valid and normal. These feelings can also be amalgamated into a larger conversation about post-holiday blues.
A few ways to dispel the post-holiday blues are:
Stay in touch with a confidant: This person can be a relative, friend or a parent. Someone with whom you can talk about what it is you feel. Keep the conversations open and honest. Chances are even this person will appreciate having someone to share their feelings with. Keep checking in and have conversations that are different and have nothing to do with the festive holidays!
Get some activity: Physical activity is a great way to shrug off gloomy days. Sure, reaching for leftover mithai from the gift box might momentarily satiate your blues but – cleaning up, watering your plants, going for a walk, getting prepped for the work week will have long-lasting benefits for your mental health and make your transition from the holiday season to your regular schedules easier.
Get away from the consumerist market of holidays: We know! We know! This might sound a little preachy but it absolutely works! A lot of brands and businesses start selling you discounted stuff for the festivities. And it always feels like whatever you have is not enough. But it is enough! You do not need to keep engaging in the algorithm of buying things at discounted rates to justify the holidays. This is not just limited to clothes and jewellery. If you are going to watch a new show or a movie, maybe choose something that is not related to the festivities.
Above all, remember this won’t last long! Your mind & body will re-adjust to your regular schedule. One day at a time!