Beating the post-holiday blues

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Photo from 'Optical illusion' via Flickr

Photo from 'Optical illusion' via Flickr

Things we love about having the holidays off: staying up as late as you want, without having to worry about going to work or school the next day, lingering in bed as long as you want, without worrying about the need to be productive, enjoying family time, festive feasts, and all those sparkly holiday decorations—basically, getting to do whatever you want.

Unfortunately, time inevitably goes by. Just as the new year comes every January 1st, we must face the dreaded, dissonant sound of our alarm going off the Monday morning that marks the official end of our vacation.

Those who are fortunate enough to have time off during the holidays can agree that their vacation is something they truly look forward to and enjoy. But at the same time, it’s quite the tease. Pulling us out of our daily routine that we are so accustomed to and then throwing us into weeks filled with family, happy celebrations, relaxation and maybe even good times at exotic beaches—then suddenly forcing us out of it, shoving us back into our daily grind of 9 to 5 and traffic and parking and looking forward to lunch breaks. If you’re lucky enough that you enjoy your job, then maybe it’s not too difficult a transition at all, but the reality is that most people go to work because they have to. And as a wonderful winter break comes to an end and those that have to go back to work are setting their alarm clocks for the awful morning to come, I bet you they’re thinking, “Man, this sucks.”

Luckily, there are ways to alleviate the “post-holiday blues”.

  • It’s a New Year. Maybe your 2009 wasn’t perfect, maybe it was…but there’s one thing that you can focus on to help keep your spirits up—making this year your year. That’s right, baby, 2010 is your year! Make a list of your new years resolutions and all that you want to do and accomplish in 2010. Even if it’s little things, like reading the news everyday or riding your bike more often…when you begin to actually do the things on your list you’ll feel good about yourself, and this will help you face the new year (and going back to work/school) with confidence and even excitement.
  • Exercise! Okay, you’ve probably heard this a million times but exercising does make you feel good! Start working some form of exercise into your daily routine—you don’t have to buy a gym membership; going on walks or a 20 minute run three or four times a week is good enough, as long as it gets the heart pumping. Exercising will make you feel more alert and awake, which will help you perform well at work, even if you don’t want to be there. It will also help you get to bed at a reasonable hour, which will help your sleeping schedule get back in order. And of course, it will make you look good as well as feel good!
  • Clean up. Get organized and put away all holiday decorations. This will help you mentally move on and get into a better mindset to get back to work. It will also take some stress off, knowing that you get to come home to a clean environment will give you some peace of mind.
  • Take time to reflect on the wonderful things you did during your vacation. You may realize that, although the holiday is sadly over, you made the most of your time off and had a lot of fun. This will make it easier to accept that it’s time to get back to normalcy.
  • Don’t forget about the little ones! Adults are not the only ones that don’t like going back to the old routine—your kids feel it too! Help establish the old routines by getting them to bed early and limiting how much TV they watch. Encourage them by reminding them that school is fun and how all their friends are excited to see them again. Have a positive attitude about going back, so that your children will mirror this positivity.
  • Start thinking about the next fun thing you want to do, or the next vacation you want to take, so that you have something else look forward to. Remind yourself that a vacation is your reward for a job well done. Let this be a motivator to work hard so that you can enjoy your next break! Buy a piggy bank to remind yourself of the next great thing you get to save up and work towards.

See, going back to the old routine isn’t that bad, is it? It’s your year, San Diego! Time to beat the post-holiday blues and be excited for the fabulous things that await you in 2010!

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