Health Watch -- Post-Holiday Letdown

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

With the holidays over, do you feel a little empty inside?

You're not alone if you hit a bit of a slump after the excitement of the holiday season comes to an end. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say most people get some form of the post-holiday blahs. It can be hard to adjust from a special time such as the holiday season back to the everyday routine of work or school. Even our homes look a little sad and empty without the holiday decorations.

Dr. Madhukar Trevedi, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist who is an expert on mood disorders, offers some tips for preventing or recovering from the post-holiday blahs. To start with, make realistic New Year's resolutions. You'll just frustrate yourself if you aim too high and fail.

Don't dwell on the things that went wrong during the holiday season, such as things you feel you should have done, that recipe that didn't come out right, the family squabble or the gifts you wish you'd received. Instead, focus your thoughts on what went well. You'll feel better, and you'll have happier memories about the holidays.

Take time to do something nice for yourself. You've spent much of the past month doing things for others, so you deserve a break. Some quiet time or a special treat like a day at a spa will make these January days seem a little less drab.

Finally, Dr. Trevedi recommends getting some exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can improve your mood. If you try these things and still feel blue, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.