Written by Joan Stevenson—

Happy New Year! The holidays have finally come to a close, all the joy, the aggravation, the hustle and bustle, the partying, and the over-eating (and drinking). It’s time to pack up the lights and tinsel, sweep those pine needles out the door and start a fresh new year. As stressful as the holidays can be, most of us have a very real reaction when they are over. Some of us are relieved, but some experience a little sadness that the season has passed. That’s when the post-holiday blues start to creep in. January is a weird time for me because I am one of those people who experience mood changes in winter because of the lack of sunlight. Most people also feel a slight tinge of cabin fever mostly from all the snow and cold temperatures that keep them stuck inside, but with the exception of a couple of days in November, there has been relatively no snow this winter. It can be said that Michigan has been known for its unpredictable weather. Two winters ago, I got 1st degree frostbite and this winter I’m still wearing t-shirts instead of sweaters. As I write this, it’s raining and 59 degrees, but because it’s Michigan, by the time you read this there could be 3 feet of snow on the ground. (God, I hope not.)

I admit I am not a fan of snow when I have to drive in it, but I was expecting at least just a few inches and just a little chill in the air. It is winter after all. Except for those days in November, it’s been pretty much an Indian summer all winter long. I never thought I would ever say this but I’m actually missing the snow! I don’t miss driving in it, but I miss the calming quiet when it falls, especially at night, and that peculiar sense of comfort I seem to feel when I wake up in the morning and see that it has covered everything. Maybe that’s a holdover from being a kid and having snow days off from school. Looking at the snow outside is what makes that sip of hot cocoa extra satisfying as you watch the flurries fly past your window; it makes settling down to binge on that marathon or box set you got for Christmas even more of a gratifying experience after you’ve just come back in from getting all your snacks, but no really big snow yet this season. You got Netflix, but no chill. I wonder though, since there is no abundance of snow, would there still be that tinge of cabin fever? If not, it’s still possible that you could come down with a case of the post-holiday blues.

So when January comes, and those blues start to kick in, what can you do to combat them? If you over-indulged this holiday season, you’re probably dragging a little. That would make you not want to move at all, but just a small amount of activity, even if it’s just a walk around the block in some fresh air and especially some sunshine, can go a long way to get your endorphins going. Hey, you can actually ride a bike or a scooter now since the weather is so warm. I actually saw someone riding a bike yesterday! That can help break the blues—no question. If you ate a lot of rich foods, getting back to your usual diet can also help, especially if you beef up your vitamin C intake a little. If you did a lot of binge drinking, leave off the booze for a while. Alcohol is a depressant, so it can make your blue mood even bluer. Encourage your creativity. If you’re an artist, musician, writer, or crafter, this is a perfect time to focus on that project you’ve been putting off, or to start a new one. Keeping your creative juices going is a guaranteed way to chase away those blues. Usually I’m always working on a recording project, and I also occasionally create videos for my blog. That always goes a long way to giving me a boost when things get gloomy.

If you are the kind of person who does for others during the holidays, this would be a great time to focus on you. If you’ve been worrying about making other people happy, now is the time to think about what makes you happy. For some, the holidays can be extremely stressful, so now that they’re over, it’s time to pamper yourself. Relax. Catch up on the sleep you’ve been missing. Get back into the swing of your regular routine. If you’re the type that looks forward to the quiet after the flurry of holiday activity, then January is great for kicking back and relaxing…and possibly making a list of goals for the coming year, hmm? (Notice I didn’t say the R word.)

January is your clean slate, your reset button. The only thing in your world that should be blue is your sky and the sky’s the limit! So shed that gloom! Go out and grab 2016 by the short and curlies! FLAME On!

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