7 Ways To Beat The Post-Holiday Blues & Stay Happy

Whether you're stepping off a plane — holiday sunshine still soaked in your skin — or you're crawling out of your hibernation blankets as you push aside your books and close out your Netflix queue — beating the post-holiday blues can be a challenge. Though faced with the endless stretch of winter with seemingly nothing to look forward to for a while, there are things you can do to cheer yourself up while waiting for winter to end.

This time of year is notorious for its depressing come-down from the hype of the holidays. We're returning to our responsibilities, the weather is getting crappier, and anything we do post-holiday will probably pale in comparison. Like what else is even going on? Turn up for President's Day, amirite? Or that other expectation-killing holiday we all love that shall not be named.

But not all is lost, my friends. Coming back from a holiday is the perfect opportunity to tackle things with some revitalized energy and a fresh perspective. The end of our holidays doesn't have to be the end of our happiness altogether. Here are seven ways to overcome those post-holiday blues. Because it can, and will, be done.

1. Set New Goals

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When you've fallen into a bit of a life rut spurred by coming back to reality from a holiday, there's nothing quite like setting a few goals for yourself to help move you forward. It'll give you a reason to be too busy to feel down, and help amp that optimism. According to Livestrong, goal-setting is such a beneficial practice to provide focus, purpose, meaningful motivation, and the self-efficacy needed to learn more about yourself and push through those rough patches.

2. Find Fun Ways To Exercise

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And speaking of moving forward, try literally moving around more. This may come as a surprise, but exercise is good for you. Wild, right? Thanks to those celebrity neurotransmitters we all know as endorphins, exercise is a great activity to help boost your mood. It's healthy, makes you feel good, and you can make it super fun. You don't have to trek to the gym or go on overly-ambitious runs if that's not your thing. There are so many fun ways to exercise that don't feel like exercise — from just dancing around your house to taking up photography and exploring all of the places, make it an adventure that'll have you forgetting all about those post-holiday blues.

3. Do Something New With Your Friends

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Because we all get by with a little help from our friends. While all you may feel like doing is moping around at home remembering the fleeting and beautiful freedom you had, take that initiative and actually plan to do something different with your pals. It's one thing to go back to the usual routine and just hang out, and quite another to make the return more exciting and sharing it with your friends. As pointed out in The Huffington Post, boredom is a warning sign that something is off track in our lives, which is why it's so important to find ways to break out of it.

And helping to beat out the boredom of the post-holiday blues is something all best friends should be prepared to do for each other. Make a mini-holiday out of it. Treat yourselves to a little spa treatment. Hit up one of those wine-and-paint nights and take home a beautiful masterpiece to add to your home. Go on a hike. Anything that breaks the routine of what you usually do will help make that transition a lot easier.

4. Schedule Time To Disconnect

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I know I just talked about the importance of connecting with your friends and doing neat things together, but it's just as important to take some much needed me-time. Try to dedicate a bit of time each day to take a break from social media. Scrolling through your skillfully filtered Instagram feed and browsing through people's Facebook posts is probably not in your best interest when a case of the post-holiday blues has struck. The thing is, people do fun sh*t all the time. That doesn't mean they're constantly doing it, but we seem to notice others' happiness especially when we're not doing anything particularly noteworthy.

Plus, constantly staying connected runs the risk of sending our brains into overdrive. As clinical psychologist Brett Kennedy told Greatist, we need a break from constantly checking our devices in order to decompress and bring down our cortisol levels. Just set aside some time each day to go on a walk or dive into a book, away from the crowds — the virtual and the real.

5. Practice Patience

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You need to cut yourself some slack when readjusting to your regular routine. As psychiatrist Amanda Itzkoff also suggested to Greatist, don't beat yourself up if you don't get everything done right away, whether at the expense of time or just lack of motivation. You probably just experienced an overabundance of nonstop festivities — eating, drinking, socializing, traveling, shopping — or even just the freedom of kicking back and doing nothing, and now you're expected to resume life as you were before. Remember that transitions take time and that's OK.

6. Treat Yourself In Little Ways

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It's funny how so many of us forget to love ourselves in little ways every day. Each day holds so much potential for us to do those seemingly insignificant things that make us happy, but we just don't think about doing them. Whether it's a restriction of time, money, assumed triviality, or we seem to think we need some special occasion to do them, we can forget the importance of treating ourselves. And I'm not talking about an impromptu trip to Bali or a mega shopping splurge or anything. Make yourself a lovely bubble bath. Take the scenic route home. Go see that movie you've been dying to see. Listen to your favorite song with a candle burning, as suggested by Zooey Deschanel's Anita Miller in Almost Famous. Just do you.

7. Plan A Trip

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So you may have just come back from a holiday — even if you didn't really go anywhere — but that doesn't mean you can't plan for anything further down the road. It can be as near or far as you're able, but be sure to revel in the process. As pointed out on Spark People, the planning process is one of the most exciting parts of the journey and can help ward off those post-vacation blues. It serves as a great reminder that there are always things to look forward to so there's no reason to be sad when they're over. It's all up to you.

It's a new year, and the opportunities are endless, so don't let the end of the holidays get you down for too long when you could be out doing something awesome.

Images: Josh Felise/Unsplash; Giphy (8)