December and January always seem to get to me. After Christmas, I get myself together to go all out on New Year’s Eve and then, still slightly broken from a cracking party, I gather my final strengths to celebrate my birthday on the fifth. Yes, I absolutely love eating delicious food, being around amazing people and, most of all, celebrating my birthday. Pretty sure though, I am not the only person feeling empty and drained as soon as the second week of January hits.

I nearly cried seeing all those Christmas trees lying on the street, discarded like garbage. What’s going on with me?! As this year’s post-holiday dip appeared to be way more serious than last year’s, I asked myself: What actually causes this dreadful January mood.. and how do I get back to my normal self ASAP! Though often overlooked, it could actually be these thing that cause you to feel drained after a wonderful festive season:

We say we don’t have them, we try not to have them or we ignore them actually being there, but we all dive into December with certain expectations. Expectations of things or other people, in addition to expectations of ourselves. Expectations about the food and drinks served on a Christmas or New Year’s celebration, the presents we give or might receive, the family members surrounding us or the ones that are not, and perhaps even expectations about our own behaviour or appearance on these days. 

However, with these expectations come certain emotions and, frequently, we tend to focus on the emotions we experience as ‘negative’. For example, we experience anger when the meat is dry, sadness when someone doesn’t show up, disappointed about a present or feel uncomfortable in a certain social setting. By no means I’m trying to say that negative emotions are wrong or that we shouldn’t feel them. On the opposite! Though more often than not, we tend to get caught up in these emotions and forget about all the other things that are happening: The panna cotta that set perfectly, the time and effort someone put into setting the dinner table and the care with which someone wrapped your present. 

Apart from expectations and emotions, having no daily routine surely did away with my energy! After spending five days in Germany for Christmas, I had to work for two days before I had another couple of days off before New Year’s Eve. Then, when I went back to work, I got sick. My body and brain were all over the place. Why? When I don’t stick to a routine, my entire life goes rogue. I pretty much instantly drop all habits I worked so damn hard on to get them into my system in the first place. 

That brings me to my final observation of why the festive season is leaving you a little empty: excess. If you are one of those people doing Christmas and New Year’s in moderation, I applaud you. Moderation is a lifelong project of mine. Too many hours of sleep, too much food, too many sounds, too much alcohol, too many lights, too much thinking, too many fireworks, too many emotions… This time of year it’s all there and I just haven’t found a way to make that work for me yet apart from just having it all and then dealing with the not-so-great consequences after.

And that is now. So how am I going to bounce back? First I’m going to attack the overall feeling of lethargy, as well as the extra body mass on certain parts of my body (still uncertain of its cause, as it could be me hitting thirty or just the result of putting highly calorific things in my mouth for a month and not leaving the couch for days). Whatever it may be, getting back to normal includes bringing movement back into my life and eating plants, lots of delicious plants. 

After this period of excess, I’m longing for things to be simple. Rediscovering balance through some quiet moments of reflection, I eased back into my yoga and meditation practice, and have taken time to write a few words here and there. In order to get rid of some excess in my own living space, I started a mini-declutter project at home. I’m looking forward to free things up, clear things out and create space. Physically, as well as in my mind. 

Let’s try that again in about 12 months shall we? Or would aiming for a holiday season without a post-holiday dip be impossible? Not sure. I do know that now is the time to regain all that energy spent in the frenzy of festivity and put it towards all the beautiful intentions for the magical year ahead!