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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Owens

Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

What's on overdrive during the holiday season — besides you? Your creativity! That's why it might just be the key to helping you beat the post-holiday blues.

A poem entitled The Night After New Year's on old, yellowed and stained paper created using a typewriter. Some decorative line drawings of pine boughs with cones flank the right side of the poem.

While the poetic illustration may be creative and a bit tongue in cheek, the topic is serious. It's no wonder that this time of year is considered the worst for people suffering from anxiety and depression. But, believe it or not, it can be equally tricky to beat the post-holiday blues even if you're not predisposed to a mental malady. Researchers have found that many people go as far as feeling a mood resembling that of loss in January — just following the holiday season.

Most of us are very busy throughout the stretch of time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. We plan gatherings, cook fancy feasts, make our Christmas lists, buy or make the perfect gifts for loved ones, wrap those gifts, decorate our homes, travel across the country, visit with family and friends, etc. And the list could go on and on! We are busy beyond belief for an entire month and a half. So, after all that, one would think that some time off would be a welcome relief. However, research would suggest otherwise — but, why?

Because, suddenly, it's done. It's all over. Overnight, there is no longer that looking-forward-to sense of excitement for all the holiday affairs. No particular activities are garnering our time, the sweet and savory aromas have dissipated, and the laughter that once filled our homes has gone silent.

Furthermore, if you look closely at all the tasks we perform throughout the holiday season, in one way or another, everything on the list requires tapping into our creativity. We use every fiber of our creative being while decking the halls with boughs of holly, or baking Christmas cookies, or cleverly wrapping gifts. So, whether or not you consider yourself creative — and whether you know it or not — your creativity is in overdrive during the holiday season. As soon as the New Year celebrations cease, the absence of creativity is made all the worse by the sheer emptiness of the month that lies ahead. When you think about it, the whole thing is pretty anticlimactic as we find ourselves plunging once again into reality — face to face with a return-to-normal schedule on January 2nd.

Yellow painted background with a Barbara Januszkiewicz quote in white lettering.

Now that we know why we feel sad in January — what can we do about it? How do we get past those post-holiday blues? The answer should be pretty straightforward. If you're missing the creative part of the holiday season, add a little creativity back into your life in the new year. As Barbara Januszkiewicz — American painter, educator, and creative activist — once observed, “Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change.” Considering the abrupt absence of creativity after the holidays and Januszkiewicz's observation regarding change, it only makes sense that you can begin to feel much happier in January by starting off the month with a bit of creative thinking.

Three super-simple activities to help you beat the post-holiday blues.

Two hands balancing a lightbulb, which is lighted up. Light bursts are added to where the fingers make contact with the lightbulb.

[ No. 1 ] Help someone else!

You might have thought it would make more sense post-holiday to do something for yourself to feel better — a self-care regimen of sorts. And while that can be true, in this first activity, that's not the case. Instead, try doing something for someone else. It relates to the old adage — 'tis better to give than receive. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying modern-day brain development found that social problem solving — also a strong expression of creativity — is how the human brain developed to its current point and size. We thrive physically, emotionally, and creatively when we help others. So, stepping away from a self-centered perception of the world to see from someone else's perspective and help them create a solution is a win-win for both. You get those creative juices flowing again, and the recipient of your creativity now has a resolution.

A bowl of shrimp pho, garnished with a lime, green onion, and basil.

[ No. 2 ] Cook something WOW!

Because cooking awakens all five senses, it can be a highly engaging and rewarding activity for your creative side. Not to mention, eating is necessary, so why not make it fun and creatively stimulating too! When you turn to the task of creating a meal — the planning and problem-solving parts of your mind start working in high gear, allowing the other, more complex parts of your mind to relax and think subconsciously — in a zen-like state. Of course, you can cook something familiar, but why not try something new? Go online, drag out the old recipe books, cookbooks, and magazines. Find something that you've never prepared before. Try something with exotic ingredients — really tap into your creativity. Throughout the planning, prepping, and preparing of the food — be aware of your creative thought process and how it makes you feel. And BTW, sharing the finished meal (and your creativity) with family or friends can add a whole new level of zen to the experience.

A white pitcher filled with red tulips, sitting on a wooden table top, against a green background.

[ No. 3 ] Change one little thing!

It's no secret that it's easy to become creatures of habit. We tend to fall victim to our daily routines with little to no resistance by human nature. And as a result, same-old-same-old leads to stagnating creativity. However, use this time to look all around you. Choose one little thing you observe every day in your surroundings that you've wanted to be different for a long time and change it up. It can be whatever and for any reason — the important thing is to unleash your creative self in the evolution of that one little thing. For example, I chose to start making sure I have fresh-cut flowers in my office once a week. Arranging the flowers allows me to express my creativity. Not to mention fresh-cut flowers increase positive energy with their colors and scents — plus, along with potted plants, they can help spark creativity! It's pretty amazing what a big difference a small change can make.

These are just a few sample activities to help you get your creative groove back. But, of course, at Art Adventure Box®, we know that art is the perfect vessel for your creativity. So each of our products makes it simple for you to get your hands on all the artistic inspiration plus Earth-friendly, premium tools and materials you need to create your art your way! Check them all out!


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