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It turns out, having a Blue Christmas is much more than a holiday tune. Whether you’re feeling the stress of gift-giving or experiencing sadness after family and friends leave, you’re not alone. The holidays can bring on feelings of stress, sadness, and loneliness for many. Research shows up to 25 percent of us will feel some twinge of the holiday blues either during the season or immediately after.

As you prepare for family to depart and pack away the festive décor, there are ways to keep your spirits high. Embodying the genuine joy that comes from making memories, sharing family dinners, and listening to Christmas music (62 percent of Americans enjoy the holiday tunes), can be a year-round experience. Try our 5 ways to exchange your holiday blues for infectious joy.

1.Get Organized

Whether it’s simply boxing up your holiday décor or cleaning out your closets for a fresh start in the New Year, getting organized gives us a sense of accomplishment. There’s value in keeping your home organized, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. The study reveals women who describe their home as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more fatigued, depressed, and exhibited higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than women who said their home felt “restorative” and “restful.” So, tackle the stack of unopened mail, put away the totes of holiday décor, and donate your unused clothes to break through the holiday blues.

2.Stay Social

Just because the holiday parties are over, that’s no reason to keep your social calendar clear. Find organizations, groups, or even a gym that allows you to stay socially involved. Ask a friend out for coffee or Facetime the relatives you usually only speak to around the holidays. Science backs the idea that everyone needs friends, finding that very happy people are highly social and tend to have strong relationships.

3.Limit Alcohol

If you’re like the average American, you nearly doubled your alcohol intake over the holiday season. It’s time to reign in the cocktail consumption now that the festive season has come to a close. Holiday parties and social events make it easy to indulge, but continuing to drink at an increased rate can worsen your feelings of loneliness and sadness. Pour some soda water with a twist of lime and begin to enjoy your sober evenings.

4.Develop A New Hobby

Whether it’s a book club, dance class, or learning a new language, explore a new hobby or activity as you begin the New Year. Staying engaged in a regular activity will help you avoid going from a booked calendar over the holidays to being home every night once the tinsel is cleared. Think of an activity you’ve always wanted to try, and make 2020 your year to do it.

5.Keep A Gratitude Journal

It’s easy to be thankful for family and belongings when we’re reminded of them constantly over the holidays. It’s carrying that gratefulness into each day that can become a challenge. Begin to keep a Gratitude Journal to remind you of the positives in your life. Harvard Health reports those who wrote down what they’re grateful for, reported being more optimistic and happier with their lives after just 10 weeks. Find the beauty in each day – no matter how small – to keep joy throughout the year.

The holiday blues don’t have to be a natural occurrence once the pie is gone and Christmas décor stored in the attic. Take steps now to increase your true joy by staying social, exploring a new hobby, and being grateful. 

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