It’s inevitable. The tree will dry up and be thrown out to the curb. The Christmas cookies will disappear, (unless you’re one of those freezer moms…) and the Christmas lights will come down in unison with your electric bill. Your family might be greeted by something new and seasonal: the post-holiday blues. With all the excitement of the holidays behind you and all the wonder and drudgery of winter ahead, you might be left with the duty of curing the post-holiday blues. Here are some tips to keep your family smiling through January and finding joy in the post-holiday season.
- Plan a Mini Excursion. Sure, traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s was exhilarating, but now it’s time for a new adventure. Book a weekend at a hotel that offers perks like an indoor water park, such as Great Wolf Lodge. Or, get tickets to the aquarium and plan to spend the day with sea creatures. Whatever your excursion, be sure to beat the blues by making a countdown calendar, giving your children something to look forward to when Annie is inevitably wrong because the sun really isn’t coming out tomorrow.
- Embrace the Ice. For those of us in cooler parts of the country, we may be tempted to settle in for a long winter nap. However, our bodies crave the vitamin D we receive from the sun and the dopamine we get from being active. It’s challenging to be outside in cold temperatures for any length of time, especially with young children. So when it’s sunny, open up those curtains and blinds! Also, plan a short activity outside each day, like making birdie bagels. These can be created inside using bagels, peanut butter, and birdseed. Then, the bagels can be taken to the park or your backyard to hang for a short outdoor activity. Another idea: go outside ahead of time and make a trail of footprints in the snow. At the end of your path, place a treat in a plastic ziplock bag (new markers, chap stick, or play-doh) buried in the snow. Then, send the kids on a hunt to find the ‘snow-buried’ treasure. Even if these activities take only 10-15 minutes outside, the benefit of vitamin D, dopamine, fighting cabin fever, and happy winter memories are a treat for everyone. Encouraging your children to enjoy the outdoors and discuss their outdoor adventures once inside can make everyone’s spirits a little merrier and brighter.
- Keep on giving. The holiday season is the season of giving. However, it’s also the season of parties, planning, decorating, and baking. When the hectic holiday season is over, we have more free time. And despite being bombarded with charitable suggestions in the month of December, plenty of need in our community remains in the month of January. When the post-holiday blues have your family in a funk, think about how you can give to others. Perhaps you didn’t have the flexibility in your schedule to volunteer during the holidays, but these organizations most likely still need help in the new year. Call up a local nursing home and see if you can bring a craft to do with the residents. Help your children to get involved by asking them to plan an activity they would like to share. Gather supplies to make Happy New Years cards. Are your children dancers? Bring a CD player and have them perform a mini recital. Your children will love planning the event and the residents will love the entertainment. Many nursing home coordinators are happy to plan activities with you- especially since their residents are likely also experiencing the post-holiday blues themselves.