5 ways to avoid the post-Christmas slump

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Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, emotions run high and the pressure to enjoy yourself is intense. Although we spend a huge amount of time, money and energy preparing it is all over very quickly and for many people feels like a disappointment. Presents might not meet people’s expectations and family rows are common. Overeating, particularly on sweet sugary products and treats, can lead to a drop in blood sugars when you start eating normally again. There are many different reasons that people experience a slump after Christmas. Here are some ways to avoid it.

1.      Accept things as they are

Often the biggest problem with the post-Christmas slump is caused when we think we shouldn’t be feeling that way – that if it had been a good Christmas we would be entering the New Year feeling uplifted and exhilarated and ready to face every new challenge. More often than not we enter it broke, exhausted and carrying a few extra pounds.

Many people interpret feeling low as a sign that Christmas has been a failure or worse, that they are a failure for not being happy and fulfilled by it. As far as the pendulum swings one way it has to swing back the other way before balance is restored, the same is true of our emotions. If anything, the happier and richer your Christmas was the harder it can be to take down the trimmings and return to ordinary life.

If you accept that feeling low is a natural result of having had a lovely time rather than trying to disguise or deny your feelings, it is likely to pass much quicker.

2.      Treat your body like a temple for one week

One of the reasons for a post-Christmas slump is chemical. Too much sugar and alcohol (which turns into sugar in the bloodstream) can leave you feeling ill and depressed. Add to that a few extra pounds round the middle, late nights, lack of exercise and fresh air and it’s no wonder many of us return to work looking like we need a holiday.

To counteract all this people often make extravagant plans to join the gym, lose 20lbs and never drink alcohol or eat cake again. The reason these resolutions often fail is because they are unrealistic and feel unattainable.

Instead of trying to impose such strict limitations for one week try to do the following:

– Don’t drink any alcohol but do drink 2.5 litres water per day

– Get 8 hours sleep every night

– Take a daily multivitamin supplement

– Go for a 30 minute brisk walk every day

– Eat 3 meals a day – breakfast within an hour of waking up and nothing after 8pm at night and try to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

– Cut down on sugar, fat and salt.

This is only for a week which most people can manage. Doing this will give your body a much needed boost which will in turn lift your mood and you will be in a much better position to think about trying to make any permanent life-style changes.

3.      Do something for charity

If you are feeling hard done by, lonely or like your self esteem has taken a battering, going and helping people less fortunate than yourself can dispel it all. Contact your local volunteer centre to find out how you could help.

4.      Be kind to yourself and those around you

Say thank you for all the gifts given to you. Look at any matches who have been trying to make contact and take the time to reply. If you are feeling irritable and snappy take yourself out for a walk and remember those around you may also be experiencing a post-Christmas slump too, it doesn’t mean they didn’t appreciate everything you did for them.

5.      Create some space

Having a good spring clean is also a good way to dispel the blues. It can make you feel focussed and productive and will help you set the stage for your normal routine. Once it is done you will probably feel relieved and ready to welcome your ordinary life.

If you have been single and hope that 2012 will be the year when you would like to welcome a new love into your life it’s good to have an emotional spring clean too. Are you holding onto an old relationship that is stopping you from moving on? If so take some time to clear out the emails, photos, gifts and memories and have a good cry over them if you need to.


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