Generally, so much energy went into preparing and traveling to see family along with conflicts with partners over which side of the family we'd go visit, followed by the sadness I felt when it was time to go home. Many times there was stress overload in dealing with relatives who couldn't put their differences and grudges aside to visit with family members who hadn't been together for extended periods of times.
There was the disappointment. Lots. One year I'd be in a relationship or marriage, the next year I wasn't or I was in the letdown of a breakup. If only I knew about all the unrealistic expectations I had back then which resulted in experiencing...
Guilt: I often felt guilty that I didn't exactly want the particular gifts that were given to me. If I chose not to keep it, I felt guilty for passing it on. I felt guilty when I gave into a partner's need to take me to his family when I would have much rather go to mine and let him go to his because it was impossible to visit both families in the same year. I'm still waiting for the invention of real-life affordable Star Trek Transporters. We all live too far away from each other. I also often felt guilty for spending too much money or wondering if I should have let go of my reserve and buy more on credit even when I had no idea how I'd pay for it later... just like so many other people I knew did.
Exhaustion: It takes a LOT of work to celebrate a holiday. Some people thrive on it and just take a nap later. Some people don't recover for weeks or even months IF they do. (Like me.)
It took way too many years (I live 1,500 miles away from family in both directions), but I am now involved in multiple clubs and organizations and each has their own Holiday gathering. I think I broke the record this year on how many I attended and how much food I ate. And yes, I strayed from my healthy diet and gorged on treats which included chocolate.
It is what it is. It's a waste of precious time to look behind you and kick yourself for the sugar you ate or the money you spent or the conflicts you had to deal with or over analyzing how you could have done better.
There were way more events I could have attended (outdoors) but I decided not to go (it was cold out), browsing Facebook for all the photos and videos that were posted. I did go in previous years so this year I used my memories and pretended I went again.
In Toastmasters, the fellow who came up with Table Topics for our December 15 meeting asked the first person he called on if she would change Christmas and if so, how. She replied she'd do away with Christmas Day completely and celebrate Christmas every day of the year just like in the song, "Let it be Christmas Every Day." I agree. What about you?
What if we could avoid the After Holiday Blues by:
Being kind to people every day.
Being kind to yourself.
Giving presents to the people you love for no reason.
Giving presents to yourself.
Sending cards out more often.
You can even send a card to yourself.
Calling people you haven't talked to in a while.
Skipping the expensive light decorations and giving the money to charities.
Helping the elderly and disabled.
Feeding the hungry--both human and community cats.
Writing down everything you are grateful for.
And if you still feel SAD, between the Standard American Diet and Seasonal Affective Disorder, you are not alone. Many people are affected by lack of sunlight which lowers your Vitamin D levels.
Wishing everyone a productive new year filled with activities that fill you up with a sense of purpose, the kind where you know deep in your heart, your little acts of kindness have made a difference.