5 Tips to Deal with the Post Holiday Winter Blues

After the presents have been opened, the New Year’s celebration is over, and your vacation break from work is done, the post holiday blues may take over your life.  anxiety, bluesThe snow has piled up outside and the temperatures have plummeted to all-time lows.  Maybe you have gained a few pounds eating uncontrollably during the holiday break or you’ve tipped a few more beers than you typically would.  And your college student has spent a good month with you and now has returned to college life and you’re feeling the pangs of separation from your child once again.  Basically what you are feeling is anxiety.  We all have anxiety in our lives but dealing with it and overcoming anxiety is the tough part.  There are a few steps that you can take to make the post holiday winter blues go away.

Make plans

I don’t know about you but I need things to look forward to.  I certainly understand that you probably have just laid out a good deal of money to buy presents for the holidays so spending money in the near future is probably not high on your priority list.  Now I’m not talking about spending thousands of dollars on a European vacation (but if you can, go for it).  I’m talking about making plans for a weekend break in the mountains or taking some time off during your younger child’s February school vacation.  Just set something up even if it’s one night in a local hotel just to break away from the humdrum of the post holiday doldrums.

Get Active

During the holiday season a lot of us tend to get away from our normal routine.  My normal routine involves going to the gym the first thing in the morning on a regular basis.  Admittedly I am way out of my gym routine and must get back into it.  I always feel so much better when I do and I am making the monthly gym payments so it makes sense to get back to being active.  And it certainly will help rid those unwanted pounds that always seem to crop up during the holiday season.

Text your child at college

This tip is for those of us who have children away at college.  I am not a big fan of texting because I think it can be abused.  But, if you have a child away at college, texting is one of the better methods of communication. Why, you might ask?  It is much more indirect than a phone call.  With a text your child can be contacted when he or she is in class, at a rehearsal, or at the dining hall.  Your child can return your text when they have the availability.  An email will do the same thing but I think a text is much more immediate for most kids and they prefer this mode of communication.  I know this sounds a little strange but it is wise to keep in mind how your child wants you to behave. As a result of keeping in touch with your child, those pangs of separation anxiety will be reduced and you will feel that close connection with your child.  Believe me, it helps. I know because I am living proof.

Plan a project

This could come under the heading of Get Active but I’m talking more of tackling an inside project that you always wanted to accomplish.  It could be anything from painting a room, converting your basement into a playroom, or just working your hobby such as woodworking or pottery.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to replace those rugs with hardwood floors.  Working toward accomplishing a goal will transform your focus and should help alleviate those post holiday blues and anxiety.


With all of the time that you spend inside during the winter months one thing that you could do is to decide to take a more organized approach to your life.  Organization should add simplification to your life which should alleviate anxiety.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, for example, then utilizing a free online money management tool such as Mint may help you feel more in control of where your money is going each month. Mint may just alleviate some of your financial stress. Or maybe just organizing your basement or your garage will help simplify your life at home.  Do not underestimate the power of organizing your life.  For me, it makes a big difference in dealing with unexpected circumstances that life can throw at you.

If you’re trying to deal with the anxiety that the post holiday winter blues have dealt you, try incorporating some of the steps laid out here into your life.  Maybe then, before you know it, the winter blues will melt away and the warmth of the spring sun will shine upon you.

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  1. says

    Ha ha, post holiday blues are hard to escape. In my household, we have a couple of January birthdays so the blues may be hitting me right about now.

    I like all the tips you’ve given us here — they’re very much about taking charge of one’s life as opposed to simply letting things happen and there’s not a darn thing one can do about it (such as all the holiday activity).

    I think it also helps to stay excited about life. When we feed our interests and our passions (such as writing, reading, etc.) and stay engaged in our relationships, then all the holiday events become simply icing on the cake.

    Awesome post, my friend!

    • Bob Bessette says

      Thanks Belinda and it’s great to see your smiling face. I like your comment about staying excited about life. Yes, both of our passions are writing and reading and I am certainly trying to continue to satiate those passions. Yes, of course, staying engaged in our relationships is also key to staying excited about life. So I take it your birthday is in January. Well, if so, happy birthday and it’s great that you stopped by. By the way, your writing is still beautiful!


  2. says

    Bob, I have no idea (yet) what it feels like when your kid goes away to college. I can’t imagine it’s easy. But I love your ideas to make plans and have something to look forward to. During the winter, when you’re snowed in (like all of us, apparently, these last couple of days) planning trips or events can be a great way to relieve stress. Thanks for sharing, my friend. Hope your blues are vanishing!

    • Bob Bessette says

      Hi Bryan,
      BTW, I read your story in your About Bryan page. Quite a story and I hope everything is going well as it appears it is. Yeah, we just had another huge storm and we have about 3 feet on the ground and they are calling for more Saturday and next Tuesday. It is absolutely crazy! Before you know it your precious daughters will be off to college and, to be honest, I cried like a baby when I hugged my eldest when we left her off at her dorm for the first time last year. I even get choked up when she leaves us after break. I don’t know, I just love having my kids around as my late father did. He passed away a year ago this March 1st and I still miss him a lot. We’re looking forward to a trip looking at colleges for my youngest (who is two years away) at the end of February.
      I hope you are well.


  3. says

    Oh, goodness! Was simply interested in the idea about coping with winter blues. Then I got hit with SMS-ing a child away at college. Ugh! A few more months and there’s another addition to blues. Gotta get something to cope with that as well. Even with the good-est child who you’re confident will be worth all the hard work, expenses, prayers, efforts and all that, separation anxiety will get me messed up. Really. With winter blues, I’m like, OK… this will be over and done with… I hope with the eldest son off to college soon, I’d be that way as well. Suddenly getting rocked up with emotions here. :( But thanks, just the same Bob. Really.

    • Bob Bessette says

      Hi ruzcarmen,
      If he ends up in the right place then it will be worth all the hard work and prayers. Please read my other posts which are linked to in this one about dealing with college separation anxiety.


  4. says

    hello bob
    how are you?
    i am a strong advocate of making plans to deal with the post winter blues.
    i get a few complaints of january being too long, all the money saved up being spent and of course you have the depressing blue monday jan 17th
    however you’ve given useful tips that would help in dealing with such feelings
    take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day

    • Bob Bessette says

      Hi Ayo,
      We just had to spend $600 yesterday to have our room shoveled off and some ice removed so this adds to my blues. Oh well, I would rather live in this part of the country than in the hot belt (if there is one anymore). We’re going to look at colleges with my youngest during her February vacation and I’ll be spending at least one night with my wife at a seaport town in Maine, USA. So I do have things to look forward to.
      I hope you enjoy your weekend.


  5. says


    I am so glad I came across this post because the winter blues is something that effects me every year. I don’t know if it is the early evenings, lack of sun, or my poor pyhsical activiy that creates my blues but whatever is the cause I glad to have these tips to help.

    So this year to combact my winter depression (blues) I joined a basketball league and I am surprised by the results. My increase in pyshical has greatly improved my mood. My horrible basketball skills though has greatly decreased my mood. :-) I will just call it a wash. Either way I am better off than I was before.

    Now I can focus on my ultimate plan of getting my six year old son to move out. Do you think they will take a 6 year old at major universities if I grossly overpay them. :-).

    On a serious note these were some awesome tips to control the holiday winter blues.

    Pleasure to meet you Bob.

    • Bob Bessette says

      Hi Frank,
      Thanks for stopping by! My problem is I still haven’t gotten fully back into my gym routine and I’m blue because of it. You might have a chance if you pay those colleges enough money. They’ll take your son at the proper price. They took my daughter although she was 18. :-)



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