It’s not a diagnosis; it’s not a syndrome. It just ‘is’. (Note I didn’t use the term ‘post’ before the term ‘holidays’.) And as I said ‘safe travels’ to my son boarding his KLM flight back to the States at Schiphol airport, I felt it; and it was real. And for that day, my mood was more melancholy, more ‘reserved’. Inside, I felt kinda like a lyric in a country song: “Did you feel it too? The ‘After Holidays Blues’”.
You don’t have to be a psychologist to recognize the signs, or take steps to remedy the situation. You keep yourself busy, now, focusing on the ‘tasks at hand’: Get back to doing taxes, household chores, paying bills, clearing the last pieces of ‘Christmas Cheer’ from the kitchen counter.
However, as a psychologist and one who tries to be reflective, I have to stop myself and ask: Am I ok? No. There’s still unresolved feelings of ‘in-between-ness’ in saying ‘welcome, Son, happy holidays’ and then ‘goodbye (for now), and see you next year’.
So, to practice what I preach, I wrote him a simple, heart felt letter —- well, an email that he will receive upon landing LAX. Yes, it took a tear or two to write, and it’s likely to disrupt my ‘tasks at hand’ planned day, but maybe not. In fact, I feel better and more grounded already, to put my ‘energy’ into something more meaningful.
So, my advice? Keep the holiday spirit alive, even after loved ones leave by keeping in touch via one form or another. My way was to write a follow up email— yours may be a simple voice mail, or something else. But the sooner you do it, the quicker to resolve that feeling of ‘sitting in muck’ after saying goodbye.
Tag Line: Don’t let the ‘After Holiday Blues’ get to you, ’cause the holidays ain’t over until we say so!’