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Feeling the post-holiday blues? Here’s why it’s normal

post-holiday blues
The post-holiday blues is perfectly normal. Source: Shutterstock

Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year have just passed, which means the witching hour for classes to start in university is fast approaching. 

Whether or not you were busy celebrating the festivities, the end of the holidays can bring about a spell of melancholy, especially if your break has been particularly enjoyable.

American writer Elbert Hubbard had it right when he said: “No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.”

So, if the thought of getting into the rhythm of attending classes and studying for exams is giving you a bout of post-holiday blues, fear not. 

According to psychologist Dr Melissa Weinberg, the post-holiday blues is a normal feeling. 

Writing in The New Daily, Weinberg said it’s important to acknowledge that not everybody experiences a heightened level of pleasure or relaxation while on holidays.

“For many, holidays involve frustration over delayed flights, disappointment at hotel rooms that don’t match the pictures you saw online, jetlag, and indecision or uncertainty about where to eat or what to do,” she said.

So, even if your holiday wasn’t particularly stellar, Weinberg notes that the brain corrupts the memories of holidays past, and tricks us into disproportionately remembering the parts of the holiday we enjoyed.

While ironic, she notes that “the capacity to fool ourselves every single day is an indication of good mental health and psychological functioning”.

Reframing your post-holiday blues

post-holiday blues

The post-holidays is an opportunity to slip back into your normal routine. Source: Shutterstock

Weinberg also notes that the terms post-holiday “blues” or post-holiday “depression” are “dramatic”. Instead, she said what we experience is a post-holiday normalisation or an adjustment following a change in life circumstance. 

“The best we can do, perhaps, is hope to slow down the process, which is why we spend time looking at the photos of our trip or telling friends how wonderful the trip was. These activities evoke a pleasant sense of nostalgia and temporarily bring back those positive emotions we crave,” she said.

So, what are some of the strategies you can use to beat the post-holiday blues or post-holiday normalisation?

Change your perspectives

You can’t force yourself to feel better, but changing your thoughts can transform your life. 

So, instead of repeating your dreary thoughts of going back to school, put a positive spin to your to it, such as how you’ll soon be able to meet your friends, get productive and push yourself out of your comfort zone to grow personally and professionally at university. 

Reach out to others

Don’t wallow in misery by yourself. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member for some advice. Sometimes, just the act of confiding your thoughts to others can make you feel better and less alone.

Make plans

Did you travel to your hometown over the holidays to see your family and feel a sense of emptiness at the thought of going back to campus? Make some plans to look forward to in university, be it meeting your friends or engaging in activities that bring you joy. This gives you a platform to focus on the more positive things in life.  

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