Christmas and New Year’s were times of joy and celebration for many people. Not only were the actual events pleasant, the time spent in anticipation of and preparation for the holidays gave you something to look forward to. But the pary’s over, so where do you go from here? In my practice, I usually don’t see as many people trying to work through seasonal ‘blues’ during November and December as much as I do after the holidays. However, with a little insight into some potential post-holiday challenges, 2020 can be one of your best years ever.
Be on the alert for negative thinking:
Here are a few post-holiday problem areas that people often report:
It was fun looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s (but now I don’t have anything to anticipate except the usual routine of my life).
The Christmas credit card bill arrived in the mail (and I’m depressed about it).
The weather during the first few months of the year is cold, and the lack of sunlight makes things dreary (I wish I lived somewhere else).
I made a New Year’s resolution that I really wasn’t prepared to meet (and now I feel guilty about it).
Be a realist and don’t dwell on the negatives:
I’ve never heard anyone say that it’s more fun cleaning up after a party than it was preparing for it. Realize what’s under your control to change at this time of the year as well as which life events you should simply cope with the best you can. You can’t wish away your holiday credit card bill, but you can perhaps curtail your spending right now until you’re more financially settled. Hoping for warmer, sunnier weather this time of year won’t change the forecast, but you can make the most of what you do during the available sunlight hours. If your New Year’s resolution is proving to be too lofty, don’t abandon it – just revise it into more attainable steps.
Have a positive outlook and move ahead:
So keep the fond memories of the holidays, but have the courage to move beyond the challenges that they’ve left behind. Sure, it may take less effort to hold onto negative thoughts than it does to move forward, but in the end it’s usually worth the energy to make constructive changes. It’s time to set some goals for the new year, not only to achieve them, but to also have somethihng to anticipate. We all need something to look forward to – that’s what gives our lives a sense of purpose. The holidays are over, but don’t forget the energy and positive attitude that you had getting ready for them. You now can re-create that spirit a little bit each day in 2020.
Copyright-2020-John Ernst, PhD
John Ernst, PhD, LPC, treats children, adolescents, families, individual adults and couples in outpatient psychotherapy for diverse clinical issues. He is presently accepting new patients. To establish an appointment, please contact Dr. Ernst at 414 329-7000 and ask for him specifically to discuss your initial questions.