“I won’t tell you to have a good day. Instead, I advise you to simply have a day. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes, and don’t give up on yourself just yet. It’ll get better. Until then, have a day.” ~ unknown*
The most wonderful time of the year has passed, and it’s that time of year where the blues kick in. Post-holiday depression is a real thing. 64% of people report being affected by holiday depression. This is triggered by the financial, emotional, and physical stress of the season. Join your host Whitney Lauritsen as she shares her thoughts on the post-holiday blues. People are so used to hustling and working to the bone every time a new year starts. It’s okay to take things slow and at your own pace. You don’t have to be caught up with everyone else. You just need to stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes, and don’t give up on yourself. Fight off this post-holiday depression today!
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Feeling Into The Post-Holiday Blues
Happy new year. It’s interesting to say that because I feel like I’m talking to the future. I’m recording this on December 27th, 2021. It’s an interesting time of year because most of the holidays have ended. I guess it depends on how you define the holiday season. For me, growing up with Christmas, I often think of that as the main holiday for myself, but there’s Thanksgiving and Halloween.
Halloween counts as part of the holiday season. I feel like once Halloween happens, there’s a shift. There’s this holiday mode that a lot of people get into, and it’s interesting because I wanted to talk about depression and down feelings that you and I may feel this time of year. I certainly was feeling it on December 26th, 2021, the day after Christmas, and given that Christmas feels like the biggest holiday for me.
I address this very delicately because not everybody celebrates Christmas, and it’s important to acknowledge it. It’s been fascinating. This movement around like do you say happy holidays or merry Christmas. I try to be very sensitive to the fact that not everybody celebrates Christmas. I don’t want to assume that, but some people still want to say Merry Christmas. I find all of that verbiage interesting.
It’s important for us to acknowledge our life experience and what is important to us while also understanding that other people come from very different situations, backgrounds and preferences. Also, even the term Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. They’re very focused on the positive and in a way, that’s assuming that other people find this time of year to be happy, merry and joyful when that’s not the case for everyone. It also can be a mixed bag.
I have lots of notes to share because I wanted to dive into some of the data around this and also better understand how I’m feeling. Hopefully, I help you reflect on how you’re feeling as well. I wish I had recorded or put out this episode before the new year, because as I dug into this more, I realized, “This week right now that I’m in, this feels like a tough week.”
The Week After The Holidays
I feel a bit disoriented. Perhaps you can reflect back on how you were feeling and see how that’s impacting you at the beginning of the new year. I was feeling weird. It was a combination of it being the day after any big holiday can feel a bit depressing and a bit low. You’re coming down from a high. That’s how I was, at least. It was also a Sunday, and I felt like, “I wish that Christmas hadn’t been over the weekend because being Monday, I felt like I had to get back to the Monday mode.”
It felt a bit disorienting because I’m wondering, “Is this week off for a lot of people? How much am I going to need to work this week for context?” I have the show. I also have clients. I do freelance consulting work for a number different businesses and companies. I’m not sure how much was expected of me this week. I wanted to rest. For me, that’s one of my favorite parts of the holidays, especially this time around Christmas and the new year, where it feels like things are slowing down.
As I’m describing that, I’m also feeling this anxiety coming up with this fear of going into the new year, where you’re already at, and I’m curious if you were feeling this, but also maybe still feeling it now. What’s interesting is the day that this episode comes out is also the Monday after a big holiday, in fact, the New Year’s holiday.
January 3rd, 2022 in particular may feel very heavy, and now I’m anticipating that for myself. It’s so weird by the way to do episodes so far in advance and feel like I’m in two times at once. The day that I’m recording, but also anticipating the day the episode comes out. It’s a mentally odd experience for me, especially in this particular timeframe. I’m wondering if I was feeling some of these lowSo many people get into this 'New Year's mode' that they're going to take this year by storm. It's okay to take it slow and steady. Click To Tweet
I’m a little nervous about it right now, given how I’m feeling because even though there’s still work going on for me in between Christmas and New Year’s, I feel like the Monday after New Year’s, in particular, may feel intense because so many people get into this new year’s mode. This, “I’m going to take this year by storm. This is my chance.”
A lot of people I feel are leaping into it with a lot of momentum and excitement, which is great, but for those like me who like a slower pace, who get overwhelmed easily, who feel anxious and feel like the hustle does not resonate with me, I am dreading the beginning of the new year because of other people’s reactions to it.
I noticed that when I woke up and checked my email for the first time on Monday morning. Some of my clients were already were in the go. There was a small issue where some work was waiting for my approval. Not to get into all the details for you, but one of my clients, I manage a team of people and they’re in a different timezone than me.
They’re up in at it a lot earlier than I am on the Pacific coast. Sometimes I feel this pressure that if they’re up early, that I need to make sure everything’s prepped for them. Sometimes I do, but I thought, “It’s the holidays. I’m not going to force myself to work earlier. I’m not going to work on the weekend.” That’s for sure, especially over the holidays.
Yet I wake up to email basically saying that I was behind. No one was blaming me, but they were pointing that out. Things were delayed and I felt like they were putting it more on me than acknowledging the fact that it was the holidays, and it felt frustrating for me. It ties into the topic that has been addressed so many times on this show.
One of the number one episode in 2021 was around hustle culture. It is fear of rest in our hustle culture. That was in the top ten episodes and also came up in the top ten posts because on the website, there are written posts for every single episode. As I was looking back over that and reflecting on hustle culture, one of the things that are so hard for me is that misalignment and you may be experiencing this too.
When you feel like the rest of the world is doing something and expecting something, there’s this pressure wherein might not be said but it’s felt. I’ve struggled a lot with that given my work. A lot of the coaching and consulting that I do outside of the show centers around social media. I have been examining my role in social media. It’s odd because I have a passion for media. I enjoy marketing. I’m fascinated by it, but I also feel a little bit uncomfortable working in social media, given the impacts of it on our mental health. Also given that so much of social media feels like it’s tied into hustle culture.
It can sometimes feel tough to work with my clients because they assume you need to be fast and be hustling all the time. Marketing often has this energy of like you can never stop. You always have to go. If you pause, you’re going to get behind. I feel like that ties into so much of our lives in general, depending on where you live and how you’re raised. There’s a lot of pressure to never stop and to not rest. There’s that fear of rest as mentioned in that previous episode.
Rest And Time Pressure
For me, I’m acknowledging how important rest is. In fact, that is one of the number one tips that came up while I was researching post-holiday depression and any blues that you may be feeling around. Many psychologists recommend self-care to handle those tough emotions and to make your life feel a little bit smoother or to reduce some of the anxiety, depression or blues, however you would describe it.
Number one on that list was sleep, eating well, staying hydrated and moving your body. It’s basically taking care of your basic needs, but if you are consumed in this world of the hustle and not resting, it can feel like if you prioritize yourself, then you’re going to get behind and maybe you may lose your job or that opportunity. I felt so much of that in social media.
It’s very different in my position where I’m advising other people. I love that. I thrive there. I also feel like I can encourage others to rest more and disconnect from hustle culture. I’ve been mindful about taking on clients who are not consumed with hustle culture and who do not feel a ton of time pressure, but sometimes that still impacts them, and I have to work through that with them.
Whereas when a lot of my income was coming from my work in social media, especially on the influencer side of things, that was rough because I felt like if I wasn’t getting things done fast, or sometimes it was literally the case, especially when it came to sponsorship. There were such tight deadlines where if I didn’t finish my work with my sponsor’s deadlines, I wouldn’t get paid. I would get fired. I would break a contract. Most of those deadlines were fast, like within a week or two. It caused a lot of anxiety intention for me. That’s one of the big reasons that I stepped away from doing that work. The only sponsors I’ve been taking on are for this show, and this show has a much more even slower pace.
I do a few episodes a week or sometimes only once a week. I can do it on my own schedule. I can shift things around. My sponsors are happy about that versus on social media like Instagram, it was like, “You got to post as quickly as possible.” This constant FOMO. This fear that if you don’t do something quickly, you’re going to miss out on it. That can impact us during the holidays.
The top episodes from November were about anxiety and the holidays. It was like this holiday season giving you anxiety. Those episodes resonated with people like you because they’re very relatable. For me, a lot of that anxiety comes from that time pressure. Feeling like I have to get the right guests and they have to order them from this website and time.
As I talked about the Black Friday intense chaos, it was like, “If you don’t take advantage of this sale, it’s going to be more expensive.” It’s all this time pressure, and then shipping concerns, “If you don’t order this gift in time, it’s not going to get to this person.” If you don’t do this, you will miss out. Even talking about it gives me anxiety and stress, and I’m like, “I don’t want that.”You can choose the pace for your own life, even if there's pressure from other people. Click To Tweet
We can choose consciously to not participate in that, but if the rest of the world is caught up in that, we can still feel that secondary stress. That can impact us during the new year where there are so many people who seem to be in that way of thinking of like, “I’m going to shift my life right now. Now is the time. If I don’t do it at the very beginning of the year, then I’m missing out on all the momentum.”
Go On Your Own Pace
It’s like I talked about in the previous episode, you don’t have to do that. That’s worth saying again, especially if you didn’t read the episode. You can choose the pace for your own life, even if there’s pressure from other people. It’s very important to put a disclaimer that everybody’s life is structured differently. You might have conditions and structures that you have to abide to. I’ve heard this so much from friends and I’ve experienced this in the past, as I mentioned, not just with the social media influencer work that I used to do a lot of, but in the past when I had full-time jobs working for other people, there were rules that I had to follow. Otherwise, I was at risk of losing that job.
I want to acknowledge that it’s not always as easy as saying, “I’m going to set my own boundaries and I’m going to do things my way.” Sometimes you either can’t like black and white cannot do certain things or it’s hard to because of the risk. That advice in itself is not mentioned enough. There are so many cookie-cutter strategies, black and white things, and overly simplified tips for people that may not apply to your situation.
I want to phrase this in a way that it doesn’t make it seem like I’m oversimplifying this because I have to look back in my life and see how I noticed what work was not serving me on a deep level and how long it took for me to disconnect from it. It is an ongoing process of refining. Every single day, I’m reflecting on how I feel working for or with certain people, how that’s contributing to my wellbeing. I’ve also spent many years unraveling myself from corporate work from the classic 9:00 to 5:00 work that I used to do, and it’s been a long journey. I want to acknowledge the fact that if your work is tough on your mental wellbeing, it may take you a while to shift and change that.
I was in a coaching session with one of my clients and they were expressing how they felt this sense of hopelessness and defeat. This sense of being taken advantage of. That is relatable for many of us because sometimes we don’t feel like we have control. Sometimes we don’t feel like our needs are important and we have to put them aside for someone else. While I want to believe that’s not true, I want to believe that we have agency over ourselves.
Sometimes we’re in spots where that may not be the case, and that may be temporary, but it’s still happening. We can at least reflect on what we would like to be different. Speaking of time, realize that it may happen in a longer timeframe than we would like it to, but perhaps reflecting on what we want gives us a sense of hope, and having the awareness around how we’re feeling helps us tune more into ourselves to recognize why we’re feeling the way that we’re feeling.
That’s helping me process in real-time. The last time I was sitting on the couch, it was pretty late. It was like 11:00 at night on a Sunday. I’m feeling that dread of Monday coming and all of these things that I’ve been sharing. I found that acknowledging my feelings was incredibly helpful and that, again, is some ongoing advice, tips or strategy that I’ve been reading about. I want to dig deeper into some of the things that I found around these low feelings that many people tend to have this time of year.
Setting Goals And Accomplishments
One of them which I thought was an important thing to acknowledge is this build-up to something that we’re excited about. This pertains to so much in our life. Not just the holidays, but also goals. This is related to the new year, because if you are somebody who sets new year’s resolutions or any goal for yourself at the beginning of a new year, you may feel yourself simultaneously excited and overwhelmed.Sometimes, looking forward to something feels better than actually doing it. Click To Tweet
Depending on the timeline of that goal, there may be a period of that buildup like, “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to accomplishing it.” I felt this during the holidays, and I also felt it throughout 2021, because I had a big goal of paying off my credit card debt. I’m excited to say that as of the time, this episode comes out, I’ve achieved that.
On December 27th, 2021, I have three days until I pay off my credit card debt. It’s interesting because it’s coming. It’s three days away. I feel like nothing’s going to get in the way of it. I remember in 2021 at the very beginning of the year, feeling a bit overwhelmed at this huge goal I wanted to accomplish. I set the goal in January or February. It might’ve even been later in the year. I’m not sure, but I decided that by the end of 2021, I was going to pay off all my credit card debt.
I had four credit cards. I had, for me, a relatively large sum of debt that I had accumulated over so many years collectively on all my cards. It hadn’t been a priority so I was paying off the minimum. I was accruing all this interest. When I saw how much interest I had been paying all those years, it was a huge wake-up call, and I thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I set up a plan. I looked at how much debt I needed to pay off. I broke it down into chunks and I did it.
Some months were easier than others and some months it was a big stretch for me to pay off that sum, but I stayed committed to it and I accomplished it. It was a great feeling. As I got closer to the end of the year, I found myself feeling these mixed emotions of like, “It’s going to feel good to pay off this debt and reach the goal,” but I feel like the feeling of accomplishing it is going to be so short-lived.
At this moment, December 27th, 2021, I am anticipating in three days from now, I’m going to pay it off and it’s going to be this fleeting feeling of, “What’s next?” That feels a little depressing to me. I feel like I should acknowledge these big accomplishments. I want to be very intentional about it because I don’t want to feel that sense of, “Now it’s over. What else is there to look forward to?”
Sometimes looking forward to something feels better than doing it. I felt this too on Christmas morning. For me and my family, we always split up Christmas Eve presents and Christmas morning or Christmas Day presents. It’s so interesting. I’d be curious if you celebrate Christmas, how you do gifts. Some people are like me, they do both. Some people, one or the other, they do Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I’ve always been fascinated by that.
Christmas Eve felt so great. I was so excited to mostly give gifts. Because I didn’t spend it with my family, we facetimed and I love to do this. It’s such a 2021 thing to do. I feel being able to witness them opening gifts through FaceTime felt almost as good as it does in-person, and I am so grateful to the tools like the video calls are so easy for us these days. Amazing technological advancements we have that we shouldn’t take for granted.
I also want to pause to say that there’s that sadness that you can feel if you’re not spending time with your families during the holidays. I saw a lot of posts on TikTok about this, especially people who got COVID, and either chose not to see their family or were not able to travel to see their family because they got COVID and the sadness that they were expressing and the disappointment.
To be honest, I didn’t feel that way. I haven’t spent Christmas with my family in the last few years because I traveled during different times of the year to see them, but there’s still like this tiny bit of me that’s like, “It would be nice.” My sister is with my parents right now, sending me photos and videos, and I feel a little envious.
The Reasons For Post-Holiday Depression
FaceTime helped a lot. On Christmas Eve, seeing my family opened the presents and sharing that joy with them was nice. I felt this creeping feeling, especially on Christmas morning, knowing that it was almost over, and open the next round of gifts. As I was opening my gifts, as I was seeing people open the gifts that I gave them, getting text messages from friends and such, I found the sadness of, “It’s almost over.”
The moment came of, “Do I take down the Christmas tree? What day do you take down the Christmas tree?” I found myself wanting to hold onto it. Not wanting to put down any decorations. I have some string lights up on the windows and I’m thinking, “I want to keep them up another week because those string lights bring me so much joy.” Even driving around the neighborhood, I saw lights up and Christmas trees from other people, and I thought, “They’re going to be taking them down soon.” I was like anticipating the sadness of letting go.
This is a very common thing. There are statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, for example, that said that 64% of people report being affected by holiday depression, and it’s often triggered by the financial, emotional and physical stress of the season. Things like the cold weather, less daylight. With COVID-19, isolation for some people. It does not help.
The pandemic has changed some of the things that normally protect our mental health from social connection to financial security and even hope for the future, which is a whole another subject matter, but certainly, COVID has shifted a lot for us. It has caused tension and division. It has changed some people’s health. It has ended some people’s lives. Given that we’re around the two-year mark of the pandemic, it can feel intense. It can feel like our hope is being eroded because some people may feel like this is never going to end. There’s no sign of it ending.
It’s shifted a lot for our mental health, and that’s important for us to acknowledge. Also, things that are known to be good for our mental health like exercising, spending time in nature and with family are harder to do from COVID to the fact that the days are shorter and the nights are longer. I felt this too. There are moments where I felt like I wanted to but mostly should go outside.
I wanted to walk around the neighborhood and take the lights and decorations as I mentioned, but I didn’t feel like it. It felt cold outside, even though I’m in LA. It does feel cold without snow, but also the time of day. I wanted to sleep in, but the downside to sleeping in this time of year is that the day is short depending on how late you sleep in like you wake up feeling refreshed but also knowing that you have far less daylight. That impacts me because sometimes I don’t get energy until later in the day. Depending on how my day is structured, I might not feel like I have a good window of opportunity or the energy to go outside before the light goes down. That impacts me and I feel like it’s important to point that out.
The other thing that I’ve alluded to is this holiday season, including New Year’s, is a period of a lot of intense emotions and stress. Stress could be positive or negative. Suddenly when the day’s over, you have this abrupt withdrawal of all these stress hormones. This could be true of any big day, like a wedding, a deadline or a goal like I mentioned. That has a big impact on our biological and psychological wellbeing. We have to adjust to less stimulation.
Part of me wonders if new year’s in a way, all the intensity of the beginning of a year, is it our way of adding more stimulation to our lives? Maybe that’s why for me on December 27th, 2021 feels so funky because I’m adjusting to Christmas being over, but also anticipating new year’s. It’s like I’m in this in-between time of low stimulation or the end of one stimulation at the beginning of another. That feels strange.The holiday season is referred to as the most wonderful time of the year. It's setting you up for feeling depressed. Click To Tweet
For you, given that it’s already 2022, you may be in this phase of letting go of all of the stress and intensity of all the holidays that you may have celebrated, and also adjusting to the beginning of a new year. Even if that doesn’t feel stimulating, it’s still an adjustment. It’s a big change. Even as writing the number 2022 takes an adjustment.
I remember when I was in school, I would have to write the date at the top corner papers, and it would always take me a few days to switch over from one year to another. It doesn’t happen quite as often in the digital world or my professional life now, but it still has that awkwardness. It’s that transition. Also given that the holiday season is referred to commonly as the most wonderful time of the year. Even saying that out loud like, that’s messed up.
“We’re no longer in the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s like setting us up for feeling depressed. This inevitable return to work, getting back to “normal” because of the holidays, depending on what day you see the holiday starts. As I said, some people see it as early as Halloween. It’s like a two-month-long period and that’s supposed to feel so wonderful.
Some people love fall and winter. When it shifts to a different phase of winter, it can feel sad. It also reminds me as I was growing up on the East Coast in Massachusetts, we had snow most times, depending on climate change, unfortunately. Sometimes we did not have snow during Christmas and the holidays, but I remember witnessing the snow starting to melt.
For anyone who grew up with snow, you would have a big snow day and the snow would be all fresh. It was white, fluffy and high sometimes, and then it would start to melt and it would get dirty, especially around the street. From cars driving by, it would look gray, black and sludgy. It was gross. That was depressing because it was no longer, pretty, fresh and new. It was old, dirty and gross, and in that transition, I couldn’t stand seeing that.
The same thing is true on Christmas. If it wasn’t snowing, it felt depressing to me to look out the window and see my backyard full of dead plants, because it was winter like the snow wasn’t covering them up. There are all these little cues that we get about what’s wonderful and what’s nice. The song I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas impacted me as a little kid because if I didn’t have a white Christmas, it didn’t feel like a good Christmas.
It’s so fascinating to reflect on this. It’s bringing up a lot of emotions for me. This whole idea of coming down from that high, it’s over. We’ve lost that excitement and the activities. It’s a bit different for many of us during the pandemic because at least for me, I’m not going to holiday parties where I didn’t go to any. I didn’t even do much virtual events aside from the Christmas presents with my family.
I felt like there were a lot of virtual things happening like in 2020, but in 2021, at least in my circle of friends and family, it was like a different experience where there was less effort into doing things virtually. It was accepting. I also saw lots of people doing things in groups, despite the pandemic. That was their choice.
They went out to holiday-related things and meals with each other and whatever else like everybody has their different comfort level. For me, I’m on the cautious side of COVID and choose not to socialize very much. That in itself can feel depressing, but the idea of it ending is depressing for me. The realization that there won’t be holiday parties for another 10 or 11 months feels depressing to me.
The other interesting point I read about is how the holidays can be the only time in the year that regular life feels interrupted because the brain exaggerates the realities of day-to-day life. That makes the return to the mundane seem more anxiety inducing and depressing than it is, because during the holiday season, anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks are filled with things.
The one thing that comes up for me as I reflect is right before Halloween. I can feel the excitement of people looking forward to celebrating. They’re planning their costumes. People start getting excited about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I don’t drink them, but hearing the buzz of like, “PSLs are back in coffee shops,” or right around Christmas and the rest of the holidays, it’s like candy cane staff. Even the food changes and grocery stores and there are specialty items that you can only get that time of year.
There’s that thrill about it. That all disappears seemingly overnight, and then you’re going back to this mundane ritual of drinking regular coffee and maybe not having baked goods. Your calendar can feel like it’s empty because the holidays aren’t written on it. I hope by me sharing all of this that it’s not triggering you because I feel a little triggered right now. The more I read all these examples, I’m like, “This is depressing.”
I’m only bringing this up to acknowledge it. Sometimes we don’t even know why we feel the way that we feel. I’m going to take a deep breath, ground myself and remind myself that everything is okay which I’m coming up to in a moment too. The last thing I feel is worth acknowledging around the intensity and the highs and lows of our emotions are that the holidays tend to be filled with alcohol, if you drink alcohol, sugar, lots of processed food.
There are a lot of foods that we commonly associate with indulgence, whether or not you do. It’s on a case-by-case basis. I am very intentional about not labeling food as good or bad, right or wrong. Some people drink alcohol all year long, the same amount. Some people don’t drink alcohol. Everybody’s in a different place, but perhaps you were “indulging” a little bit more than usual.The holidays can be the only time in the year that regular life feels interrupted. Click To Tweet
Some people have a lot of guilt around that, especially right as we go into the new year, all of this messaging around changing our diets, exercise, and all of these things about ourselves that I addressed in the previous episode. There’s all this pressure, and it seems almost this before and after. The before indulging you in the holidays. The after is shifting into the new year’s resolutions and not indulging or combating indulgence.
I hear so many people use these phrases like, “I got to get back on that treadmill to work off all the calories I ate on Christmas,” and it’s like, “You don’t have to. You’re choosing to.” It’s a lot of societal pressure that tells us that if we indulge, we have to combat it. It’s like, “Maybe that indulgence feels good.” I imagine it does, otherwise, you probably wouldn’t do it. What if we acknowledge the joy that indulgence brings us and not feel this pressure to work it off, burn it off and change it?
Balance is important, but sometimes it goes to such extremes. Depending on your state of mind, those extremes can feel harmful. Sometimes we do overindulge for our bodies and our preferences, and then we can swing the other way and work ourselves to the bone because we feel guilt over that. I find it much better for my mental health to savor whatever I’m doing and choosing then acknowledge the fact that it doesn’t have an as significant impact on me as the society may make it seem.
Many of us grew up feeling like if we eat one donut, for example, we have to go to the gym to work it off. The truth is, if you eat that donut and enjoy it, your body is good to process it and be fine. Again, everybody’s body is a little different. I’ve gone through phases of weighing myself every day. What I found interesting is that the days in which I felt I was eating healthy and I was staying within the balance of however way I was eating at that time, sometimes I would gain weight even when I was doing all of these things that I thought were going to because me to lose weight because our weight depends on so many factors.
On the other end of the spectrum, there have been times where I’ve indulged many days and weeks in a row and didn’t gain any weight from it. Yet our society, marketing or even the way people talk will convince us that eating one item of food is going to ruin us or cause this huge ripple effect when it barely creates a ripple in my body, at least.
I say that too because there are many medical reasons and biological scientific reasons for all of this that are relative to each of us. You need to determine this for yourself, but from a mental health standpoint, the reason I’m bringing this up is that a lot of the times, we’ve been conditioned to believe something that might not be true. The fact that we believe that myth is detrimental to our mental health.
Awareness of yourself, your situation, your body and your choices play such a pivotal role in how you can manage the balance of your own wellbeing. I also want to note that research does link some processed foods and alcohol to depression. If you’re constantly adding things to your body that are impacting your mental health, then it’s important to make some adjustments so that you can feel better physically and mentally.
It’s also important to acknowledge that the holiday season can bring up a lot of past trauma and loneliness. I touched upon this a bit, but I want to say that out loud that if the holidays don’t feel joyful to you or the beginning of a new year it doesn’t feel joyful to you, A) You’re not alone. Other people go through that too. They might not verbalize it, and B) It’s truly okay, as tough as this may feel and as lonely as you may feel, ultimately, you’re okay.
By acknowledging that condition and state that you’re in, it may help you figure out what’s best for you. You may need to get some support. You may need to see a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. You may need to process your trauma in some very specific ways for you. Sometimes we get so caught up in those intense emotions or conditions states of being that it’s hard to see a way out. I don’t want to sugar coat this and make it seem like it’s simple and easy, but sometimes acknowledging that it’s okay to feel the way that we’re feeling is a crucial step in getting through it.
A lot of times during the holidays, with all this messaging that I’ve been mentioning, we can feel like it’s not okay to feel that way. We can feel like there must be something wrong with me because everyone else seems so happy. Everyone else seems like they’re enjoying this, and maybe you feel even more alone amongst all that messaging.
You’re Not Alone
Reading some of this data helps you realize that it’s not all but cheerful for everyone. The holidays rarely live up to our expectations by the way, and some people blame themselves for that. Some people feel like they failed. They failed themselves or other people. There’s so much pressure here. Even during this time of the new year, if you’ve set a resolution, if you’ve been looking back in 2021, perhaps it didn’t go that well for you.Awareness of yourself, your situation, your body, and your choices plays a pivotal role in how you balance your wellbeing. Click To Tweet
It seems like every year people say, “That was such as a tough year. I’m so glad that it’s over,” but that could feel very depressing. Also, if you’ve been paying attention, it feels like it’s so repeated that you can get into this mindset of no year is ever going to feel good, or this false idea that the start of a new year is suddenly going to change everything. That’s why some people dread it in this period of looking back on your life taking stock of it, your accomplishments or your lack of them.
What if you feel like this past year was awful, didn’t feel like you accomplished anything, or things went downhill for you? That’s an incredibly important thing to acknowledge. Not everybody can find gratitude and can feel good about things. Sometimes it feels like life is slipping away and going by so fast, and that’s okay that you feel that way. Again, you’re not alone. This is coming up in all of this data if you don’t feel like you measure up in comparison to others. One of the keys here is it’s more important to be focused inward and compare yourself to yourself, but if you are comparing yourself to yourself and thinking that you’re doing worse compared to a previous year where your life felt better, that can feel tough.
One thing that was helpful for me is a line I saw on a TikTok video. I can sing the praises of TikTok over and over again because it makes me feel connected to others, but it also shows me what others are going through, and I learn a lot on there. There are amazing people, therapists, psychologists and scientists, people that are into data and pretty much anything you can imagine.
This one woman said that she finds it helpful to find gratitude in who you are instead of trying to change. In this time of year where it seems like everyone’s trying to change, there’s pressure to change, you may be comparing yourself to others or yourself and thinking, “I’ve got to change this.” Things aren’t good enough. Are you able to find some gratitude? Even the smallest sliver of it could be helpful.
If you can’t find gratitude in it, is there someone else in your life that could help you find it? Hearing what somebody else thinks about you in a positive way can be so healing. Is there someone in your life, a friend, a family member, a therapist or somebody that can reflect back to you the positives? Can you look out for it? Even a stranger.
This was overlooked so much. One thing I would like to be more intentional about is my interactions with people that I’ve never met and may never see again. Can I bring some joy to them or did they bring some joy to me? It could be a smile or someone going out of their way to be kind holding the door open for you for example. It could be the cashier at a grocery store that asked you how you are. Maybe they’re the first person that day that asks you that. Can you savor that moment and be grateful for that moment? That kindness when it feels like you’re being hard on yourself, or you feel disconnected from others.
This is why getting out of our homes can be helpful or doing things online. I mentioned at the end of an episode that I have my private community Beyond Measure. If you ever need or want a safe place to connect with like-minded positive people Beyond Measure is there for you. I am working on officially opening up to the public. It’s been private. It is something that I protect and have been cultivating because I want it to feel nourishing and supportive. It is completely free right now and maybe paid at some point in the future. I’m still figuring that out, but you can join this.
I always opened this up to people who feel alone and need support. I open it up to people who may not have the funds, resources or comfort to go see a therapist. It is not a replacement for therapy and it certainly is not designed to be therapy, but it does have therapeutic benefits in that it is structured around a circular and equal community. Everybody is truly there to hold space for one another to share and to support. It feels safe.
I could go on and on about it and it feels worth mentioning. It is “invite only” but anybody can ask me if they would like to join, and I haven’t said no to someone yet. There are maybe some cases of people who do not feel like a fit, mainly because I’ve had some negative experiences of people online who have said unkind things to me and others and that is not a fit for Beyond Measure. It is rooted in kindness, acceptance and equality.
I imagine if you are interested in Beyond Measure, if it is a fit for you, so you can reach out to me via social media or email. I’m easy to find on social media, under my private account, which is @WhitLauritsen. Wellevatr.com, it’s where the show lives. I have links to everything, and that’s also how you spell the social media accounts for the show. You can reach out to me there too.
Since Jason has left the show, I am the only one reading emails and checking social media. You are guaranteed to reach me. If you want to reach out and say, “I heard you talking about Beyond Measure. I’m curious about it. I’d like to check it out.” I will send you an invite for you to do so. Hopefully, that will give you a sense of community that you may be longing for and more community if you feel like you have it already.
Stop Getting Caught Up By Others
Something else that is worth noting before I wrap up this episode is sometimes seeing someone else reaches a goal or have something that you don’t have can have us feeling like we can’t do it ourselves or feeling this sense of comparison or loss of I don’t have that. In one of the article I read, a doctor said, Dr. Kubiak, “Any time you let social convention dictate what you do rather than doing what feels best for you. You run the risk of anxiety and depression.”
This goes back to that comparison point or a social convention is untethering ourselves from what others are doing and the societal pressures that we feel and tuning into what feels best for us and right for us. Even if we don’t have it yet, acknowledging the difference is a good step because if we get too caught up in what others are doing, we are running the risk of anxiety and depression.
Last Piece Of Advice
Maybe that is a helpful thing for you. Journaling is a great way to start this process. Taking mental notes when you don’t feel good. Asking yourself why, “Why is this coming up? What triggered this? What’s going on? What would I like instead?” Another last piece of advice I will share that I also saw on TikTok. It was a quote and it was, “I won’t tell you to have a good day. Instead, I advise you to simply have a day. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes and don’t give up on yourself yet. It’ll get better. Until then, have a day.” I don’t know about you, but that soothes me when I saw the video and when I wrote it down to share with you, and even now, as I read it out loud.
As I said earlier, it is okay to not be okay. It is okay no matter what you’re feeling to remove the societal pressure about what you should feel, what you do, and even stepping away from the conventional advice to have a good day. Even though people are very well-meaning when they say that to you, sometimes it isn’t a good day and that’s okay. Have a day.
That advice is rooted in staying alive, as it said. If all you did was survive, that was enough. If all you did was eat or drink something, that’s okay and it doesn’t matter what it was, because whatever you put in your body is something that you wanted, you had or you needed, you were nourishing yourself and keeping yourself alive, no matter what you put in it, unless it was poison, my brain went to a dark place.
I assume if you’re reading this, you did not put poison in your body in a literal sense, but you put something in there, and hopefully, you don’t feel the need to label it as poison if it’s not literally poison. I also loved the line of wearing comfortable clothes. This advice is one of my favorites. Especially, in the pandemic, one of the silver linings for me is that since I’m mostly at home and not socializing nearly as much as I used to, I wear whatever I want.
I’m wearing a shirt that I don’t feel like it’s flattering on me. On the top, yes, but it hugs my stomach and my hips in a way that I don’t like visually as a judgment on myself. I probably would not wear the shirt out and feel confident about it, but I can wear it here on the show because I feel accepted on the show which is a wonderful feeling, but it’s also quite comfortable and that’s what’s important. It’s comfortable in a physical sense. The emotional side of the clothes could be a whole another topic.Don't have a good day. Instead, just have a day. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes, and don't give up on yourself. Click To Tweet
It’s a different story, a different level of comfort, but that doesn’t matter because it’s just me with myself. I can wear something that feels comfortable. I’m also wearing some comfortable pants that I probably would not wear out. They’re cute, to be honest. They’re very comfortable. I wore them to bed and I’m going to wear them throughout the day. I didn’t feel the need to change, and that feels good. The permission to wear comfortable clothes feels good for me and my mental health.
That last line, “Don’t give up on yourself.” I don’t know why it says, “Just yet,” because I would advise you to never give up on yourself. I would put a period and take out the just yet from that, and I hope that it’ll get better no matter how you’re feeling. Even if you’re feeling great, it could get better. It could be even better than it feels.
There’s always the possibility that things will get better. In fact, it’s true that things will get better at some point. It’s very rare in life that we reach a point where things can’t possibly get better, but even if they are the best that they can be and they dropped down, when they dropped down, they will get better again. That’s an important thing to remember. I’ll end the episode here by saying, I hope you have a day.
I hope that wherever you’re at mentally, you are savoring the day. You’re finding little bits of gratitude. You are acknowledging yourself. You’re growing your awareness. You are doing what’s right for you. Thank you so much for reading and I appreciate you. Please remember, I am truly here for you. It brings me so much joy to hear from you. Even if I don’t respond right away, I read every message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
One of the things I love about the Beyond Measure Community I mentioned is that since it is a community, it’s not just about me. You are connected to all these other people and it’s taken off some of the weight from me to respond because it’s not a one-to-one anymore. It’s a community of people together. If you choose to try out and join Beyond Measure, you can write a message that I will see and everybody else there. If I don’t respond right away, you’ve got other people there, are they amazing. There’s a core group of people on Beyond Measure. If you’re reading, you know who you are, who are magnificent human beings and I’m so grateful for them.
That’s there for you. I’m there for you. You can reach out through social media and email. There’s the newsletter where you can sign up for that. It’s a great way for us to keep in touch and an easy way for you to always hit reply if you want to write back to me, and you can sign up for the newsletter at Wellevatr.com and get weekly emails about the show’s episodes, tips and other things.
I’m adjusting it now that Jason is no longer on the show. He used to do the newsletter. I’m working on some new formats to make it my own and add more value to you, and there may be a survey in there at some point, which I would love to get your feedback on so I can make this show as wonderful as possible for your life in 2022. Thank you so much. I’ll be back with another episode with a guest, and then again, just me in the next episode. Bye for now.
- Fear Of Rest In Our Hustle Culture – Previous episode
- Is Holiday Shopping Giving You Anxiety? – Previous episode
- Community Is The Key To 2022; Here’s Why – Previous episode
- @WhitLauritsen – Instagram
- Why Is New Year’s Eve So Depressing?