How to Fight Holiday Fatigue

Now that the holidays are officially over many of us are left with holiday fatigue, or more precisely, “I have had enough of my family,” syndrome. Whatever you want to call it, we can all relate to feelings of exhaustion post-holiday celebration.

There are a multitude of reasons we become overwhelmed with holiday cheer and then later feel jet lagged. For example, you set high expectations of what the holidays will be like, how family get togethers will go, the kids reactions to gifts, or the complements on your painstakingly put together holiday feast. On the front end, the planning and execution of such events takes a large amount of energy from us, and most likely, that energy was not replenished by the outcome of the holidays, aka your expectations were not met. This can leave you feeling drained and lacking in motivation (insert sweeping declaration of “I will never do this again!”)

Another possibility is that you felt a need to be “on” during the entire holiday. Faking smiles, keeping quiet about sensitive topics, and returning unwanted hugs or sentiments takes more from you than one might imagine. In the end, we typically feel “spent.” Authenticity in many families is frowned upon, but anything less than honest, emotional expression can feel like a high price to pay when it’s all said and done.

Of course, your fatigue may simply be caused by the logistics of holidays. Even if you have very realistic expectations of the holidays, set appropriate boundaries and stick to them, and are surrounded by welcoming authentic people, you can still suffer from feeling “done” with the whole thing. Packing, traveling, living out of a suitcase, actual jet lag from time zone changes, all are very real possibilities that accompany visiting our loved ones during the holidays. Even if you stay home and take on the holiday quarterback position, you have still expended an enormous amount of energy cleaning, shopping, cooking, and hosting. With so many holiday events so close together, the physical exertion of it all can be too much to deal with.

Even the quiet time after the end of the celebrations can leave us feeling adrift. Frequently people become accustomed to being surrounded by their family and friends on such a regular basis. When we are back to our normal routines it feels like something is missing in the quiet. We can often feel more lonely in that moment than we had before the holidays when it had possibly been months since we saw our loved ones.

Thankfully these feelings don’t last long and there are ways to treat holiday fatigue as well as prevent it.

Take Time to Reflect
Now that it is all said and done, take a few moments to reflect on how you feel and how you felt during your holiday celebrations. What moments brought you joy? What moments caused you anxiety? Did you feel sad at any point? Did you feel compromised? What would you like more of next year? What would you like less of? Are you holding onto anything that caused some of these feelings? Is that serving you well? Spend some time analyzing what’s going on inside of you so you can dig into and process those feelings. This helps you acknowledge your feelings and move forward in the new year.
Take Time for Yourself
With everything going on over the past two months, it is likely that you haven’t taken proper self-care. Likely, you put everyone else’s needs and wants ahead of your own. Feeling that you had to “get stuff done” came before doing the things you enjoy. That ends now for your sake and the sake of those you love. Start by looking at what you haven’t been doing for yourself. Maybe you haven’t refilled your vitamins, maybe you didn’t have time for an evening with your closest friends, perhaps hosting and traveling got in the way of your exercise routine, or you missed your favorite sports game because there was too much going on to sit down and watch it peacefully. Whatever you have been depriving yourself of, it’s time to reclaim it.

Take a moment to focus on your health
This may sound redundant since we addressed some areas of self-care that have likely been put on the back burner such as exercising. However, I am talking about health on a much bigger scale. We tend to overindulge during the holidays in everything from sugar to champaign. This can have a major effect on our emotions as well as our waistline. Some of your exhaustion is likely a byproduct of nutrition deficiency. We are never our best self when we have been putting unhealthy foods into our body. To regain some of that stability we must tackle our nutrition. This means focusing on foods that offer high value such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins; rather than empty calories found in sugar, alcohol and the like. Following a detox plan post-holiday can go a long way to flushing out the chemicals that are wreaking havoc on your emotions. If you are unsure how to do this, consult a professional dietician. This will also give you a good foundation for the new year and start you off on a healthy eating routine.

There is no need to remain in the down position post-holiday. One of the greatest gifts you can give is your commitment to your own self-care and wellbeing. This is not a selfish present, as all those around you benefit from your positivity and wellness. Next year you can enter the holidays stronger than ever, and hopefully the fatigue of holiday celebrations will be far less. Noyau Wellness and our staff wish you a healthier, happier new year!