Oh, no. You forgot to set your scales back ten pounds last week? Some say the true miracle of Passover is fitting into your clothes after the holiday. Admit it. Your mind has been marinating in matzah recipes and your work brain was kind of turned off for the last few weeks. The non-stop parade of cleaning, shopping, cooking, working overtime frenzy is officially over. You got that alarm clock waking you up again, and the taste of that glorious matzah pizza is just a distant memory. Are you now feeling a bit uninspired? Look at it this way: The first five days after the weekend are always the hardest.
Well, you fell back to earth now with a big bump. You had high hopes for the holidays. Was it everything you dreamed about and more? Your head finally stopped spinning and the burnout is now over. You were convinced that you bit off more than you can chew, and felt like you were running on empty. If you really did work yourself to the bone preparing or providing for your family, a little self-indulgence or self-congratulatory activity may be in order.
Did you know that even Olympic athletes struggle with depression after competing in their biggest event? Did you ever go on a vacation, come home, and have a really hard time going back to work or getting back to your normal groove? You just peeked at your work email and it is not pretty. Seems you came down with a case of “the back-to-work blues” or the ole’ post-vacation hangover. I know. After being off work for so long, you forgot what it is you pretend to do there.
I Hope your holidays were spiritually fulfilling, fun, and memorable for you and your family and friends. Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time thinking “We didn’t do enough” or “We are not good enough.” Look back at your accomplishments. You did it all. So please be unapologetically proud of what you did.
Just know this: Feeling deflated after such a tumultuous, emotional happening is a normal response to life’s dramas. Sure, you can make a few changes for next year’s shindig if it helps; but here is one unavoidable fact: You cannot control everything.
No doubt there were ups and downs, highs and lows. From personal to political, there was probably happiness and heartbreak. Who’s the one who brought a smile to your face?
When others ask about your holiday celebration, try to recap at least three highlights that made it special for you. Hopefully there are some. Perhaps you made it meaningful for someone else.
Look at it this way: Brutally cold snow storms, and short days and long nights are over (hopefully). It’s time to look forward, sweet friends. You may actually feel a bit let down after all the festivities. After all, you might have felt needed, wanted, and even important. Perhaps you felt a bit let down by some interactions with friends or family members. Or maybe you were so joyful with family around, and now you feel lonely and miss them terribly, now that the party’s over.
Some of us have memories of loved ones who are no longer with us at holiday time. It can feel like you are mourning them all over again. Perhaps you got back to work only to find piles and mounds of work just waiting for your return. Oh, joy.
Have you recovered from the food coma yet? Uh, oh. You got on the scale. Yikes. You know what they say: Inside some of us there is a thin person struggling to get out; but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake.
All that overindulgence in those chocolate chip macaroons – oh my. Don’t you wish you could lose weight as easily as you lose your keys, your phone, your temper, and even your mind? Ha. But seriously, please do not beat yourself up about any of it. Not the inevitable weight gain, the fact that you either feel let down, or perhaps secretly relieved now that it is all over. Shoo that guilt away. Remember that your feelings are temporary and natural; so please be kind to your sweet self. It took more than a day to put that weight on. Trust me; it will take more than a day to take it off. If losing weight doesn’t work for you, do what I do: Work on getting taller. Heh.
Holidays can be like a dream world. I’m hoping your dreams were good ones, sweet friends. But just like a dream that is literally over by morning, there can be a real sense of loss after holiday time. Ease your way back into your daily routine. No need to jump right into that freezing cold water all at once. If you did enjoy the holidays, know that they will come around again same time next year.
Please make a plan to decompress and get your cortisol levels back down, sweet friends. And may your longest list be the one when you count your blessings.
Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens. She works with individuals, couples, and families. Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends. She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at Safehavenhealing@gmail.com or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.