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What do you recommend for the post-Christmas blues? Every year, like clockwork, right after Christmas Day and New Year’s Day I get depressed. The holidays are over and there isn’t really anything to look forward to other then Lent (hardly a jubilant season) and Easter, which is several months away. I’m just preparing myself for the mental blahs that are sure to come in two weeks. So what do you recommend to shake off the funk?
I recommend you snap out of it. I hate to put it out there like that, but there it is.
Real depression is a serious illness, but getting a case of the blahs because you’re bored that there’s nothing left to celebrate sounds to me more like a self-induced mental state. You’ve conditioned yourself to expect a sense of deflation after January 1, nothing more.
Firstly, I recommend you see your doctor and get a physical to rule out any medical conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Next, stop following the secular rhythm of Christmas! Christmas isn’t over on December 26 and it certainly isn’t over after New Year’s. I cannot emphasize this enough. Of course you’re going to feel massively let down if you spend an entire month partying, preparing, shopping, decorating, and basically building up all your anticipation for a single day.
The best remedy for post-Christmas blues is to toss out the notion that “post-Christmas” means every day after Christmas Day. Embrace the Christmas Season. This season is where the sublime uniqueness of being Catholic gets to be visibly lived out in direct contradiction to the rest of the secular world.
So, my advice is pretty basic: Follow the calendar of the Church and party on.
The Christmas season is the lantern that lights our way through the dark nights of winter and illuminates our path to the celebration of the Resurrection. It’s a bright and beautiful liturgical time sprinkled with saintly remembrances, octaves, and feasts.
Try observing the season of Christmas this year, at least through the Octave (8 days of Christmas) and the subsequent days up to the Feast of the Epiphany and the Baptism of our Lord. In fact, the full season of Christmas, or Christmastide, actually extends through to February 2, Candlemas.
The entire season has plenty to do and offers much to look forward to, leaving little room for the blahs to creep in. Keep those decorations and the tree up, leave the Nativity out, host an Epiphany party, sign up for daily email reminders like Morning Offering, and — my absolute favorite — pray the Litany to the Infant Jesus every day through through the season, preferably in front of the Nativity that you haven’t put away yet. Keep your house illuminated with candles and Christmas lights; don’t snuff out the light.
I guarantee the cure for what ails you is a reverent appreciation for all Christmastide has to offer.