Five ways to beat the post-holiday blues

The first Monday of the New Year is now “Blue Monday.” Blue Monday is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, when poor weather conditions, increased debt levels, failed resolutions, and having to return to work and school following a lengthy vacation leaves folks feeling the lowest they’ll feel all year.

The event dates back to 2005, when a researcher at Cardiff University created an equation that claimed that the third Monday in January combined all of the things people generally don’t like in such a way as to create pretty much the worst day of the year. Scientifically speaking, it wasn’t very scientific, and the research was commissioned by a travel agency (so take it with a handful of salt). Recently a protein drink company in the UK commissioned further research utilizing Twitter and, after examining over 2 million tweets over the last three Januarys, found that people claimed to be their very most miserable on that first Monday after the holidays. Thus a slightly revised Blue Monday was born.

Shady science aside, the period after the holidays is hard. The aftermath of any big, exciting event is difficult as you transition back into your normal routine. Plus, once the gifts are unwrapped all that’s left is the debt. So it’s easy to see why anyone would be down this time of year. But you don’t have to succumb to the post-holiday blues. Here are five ways to stay positive and pro-active during the January doldrums.

  1. Create your debt plan of attack. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed into paralysis by your new holiday debt. Get organized and create a solid plan to have your debt handled quickly. If you need help creating a new budget or dealing with your debt, give us a call. Knowing that you’ve got a plan will take a lot of the burden off your shoulders.
  2. Give yourself a winter project. Stay busy and the blues won’t have a chance to catch up to you. Take on a personal project this month – re-organize that closet, create a holiday scrapbook, start working on that novel you’re always putting off. Find something you can truly, happily invest yourself in and the winter will melt away.
  3. Plan your next gathering. Part of the fun of the holidays is the anticipation of seeing loved ones and having fun together. Don’t wait until next December to get together again! Make plans for a spring or summer gathering. You might not be able to see each other again right away, but putting something on the calendar gives you something else to anticipate.
  4. Sell, return, or donate. January’s a great time to take stock of your “stuff.” Coming out of the holidays, you may have some new clothing or household items, so it’s a perfect time to sort everything out and see what you don’t need. If you’re concerned about debt, now’s the time to look into reselling some of those items you don’t need. If debt’s not a concern, you can donate unwanted items to charity. Either way it helps keeps you busy and your closets from overflowing.
  5. Celebrate the weather. Hey, snow and ice and rain aren’t many people’s idea of great weather, but winter only comes once a year, so celebrate it! Make the most of the wintry weather – go sledding, go skiing, drink hot chocolate, all that fun stuff. It’ll be summer again before you know it, so cherish the season while it’s here.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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