The Christmas Comedown, otherwise known as post holiday dysfunction at my home. I wrote about something similar last year and called that post The After Christmas Crash. I must not be alone in this aftermath effect of the hustle and bustle that leaves us feeling a bit like a deflated balloon after a party. Obviously, it is a reoccurring event that now I must find my way through each year.
Post Holiday Dysfunction
This is not a diagnosis in the DSM or even an actual medical term in any way. Its just my description of the feeling that comes after being hyped on Christmas cheer, chaos, and anxiety for weeks and then suddenly the crash happens. We are no longer amped up with this adrenaline, increased serotonin, or oxytocin that our bodies have produced to get us to Christmas day. The side effects of our bodies not producing the same amount of chemicals that our crazy Christmas countdown did leave us feeling in a slump.
The hustle bustle of the holiday season is what keeps us going. The days right before we are overstimulated and overwhelmed with all of our to-do lists. However, the days after, it’s almost like we are missing something. In my opinion, we are. We are lacking those stress responses that keep us energized enough to wrap 27 gifts in the early morning hours. We know longer have the alarm bells of moving elves, finding that last minute deal, or scheduling the seven Christmas visits we need to make.
Substitution or Satisfaction
As a mom, I know, there is always the next thing to start doing. Eventually, a new problem to solve will arise or a child will have something else for us to figure out. The slump of emptiness and unmotivated restlessness will fade away probably sooner than we realize. In the meantime, we are forced to find a way to either substitute the lack of endorphins or find a way to be satisfied with the slower pace.
I will be the first to admit that relaxing and just allowing things to settle isn’t my strong suit. I wish it was. I’d love to be more like my husband who can find peace in a TV remote and a comfortable bed. For me, I’m looking for the next thing I need to do.
I don’t just relax very often. I feel restless, stagnant and pretty irritated when there is nothing to do. I can also admit that although I don’t want to get out, I want to not sit still. I don’t want to clean my house, but I want some tasks to do. I’m not sure that makes sense. However, I think that is me thinking that doing nothing is equal to laziness. I know there are many things I could do, but I am just looking to procrastinate those as I wait for the motivational push to actually get them done. That usually only comes with those stress chemicals our brains release when our back is against the wall.
Instead of relaxing into the moment, I overthink myself into this ball of stress and irritation. I find the fight instead of just allowing the battles won to be celebrated. I look for the substitution in order to get the fix of adrenaline and endorphins that my body became accustom to receiving during the stressful holiday season.
Contentment is one of those things I long for, but to be honest, it also sounds boring. I want a lot, I expect a lot, and I do a lot to try to get what I want. However, I do want to learn to be present and just enjoy the now. I don’t want to plan out the next 5 years daily nor make lists of all the things I need to accomplish. I don’t want to plan for unlikely hypothetical situations or assume the worst. Hello anxiety. I want to be able to just be. No strings attached. Unfortunately, this is a skill that has been elusive to me for years.
I should be counting my blessings, celebrating my wins for this year, and enjoying some time where the kids all are happy and content playing with their new gifts and gadgets. How do I curtail this Christmas Comedown and post holiday dysfunction?
Combatting Christmas Comedown
You guessed it. My own concoction of how to combat this Christmas Comedown.
- Take some time to do something for yourself.
- Buy yourself a gift
- Read, write, or take a nap.
- Enjoy time with family
- Accomplish a to-do you’ve been putting off.
- Get out of the house for fun instead of out of necessity.
- Celebrate your wins.
- Go on a date.
- Meet up with a friend.
- Have a dance party or scaryeoke.
The short and long of it is to do something fun both for yourself and with others. Enjoy your holiday successes or just celebrate that you survived another Christmas! Either way, it’s done and we have nearly a whole year before we have to be all Christmas Carol, the elf moving, Christmas magic making, PTO participating, merry and bright decking the halls Santa’s helpers again. Count your blessings. As always, we’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M