Over the past few years I have started to notice that Boxing Day can be a bit of a downer. There is so much excitement and festivity (and let's be honest, stress) leading up to Christmas, when it comes and goes, far more quickly than I might have hoped, it can be a bit of a let down. I have come up with a few tips and tricks that I use to shake it off, and hope you will find them helpful.
This year I had so much to be grateful for. We had a low key & relaxed Christmas, spending most of the day in our PJ's. We had an abundance of thoughtful gifts that were chosen with care and loving respect for our more minimalist approach and what my husband likes to call our "accessible hippie" lifestyle. Other years I would have gotten worked up about making Christmas "perfect" and would have spent Boxing Day focussing on the things I didn't do (send out holiday greetings until today for example) but this year I chose to look at things in a different way. I chose to focus on all of the things I was grateful for, both with myself and others, and felt such a profound sense of peace and appreciation.
Even if things weren't so stellar for you, there is always the option to find one or two things that did go your way. Maybe there was some family drama at the annual get together, but you had a great chat with a friend or family member. I am starting to realize that there is always something to be grateful for, even if at times it is hard to see it. I have also realized that it doesn't need to be big, even the smallest things plant seeds for a bigger shift in perspective, and greater happiness as a result. I am no Pollyanna, I still have challenging days, but starting this practice has made a huge difference in my life. My cousin Lisa Petr's Zen of Why teachings were instrumental to this process, she has introduced me to some amazing gratitude rituals that have helped me make this part of my daily practice.
When I find myself overwhelmed by experiences in life (good and bad), my first course of action is to go for a long walk. I find the simple act of spending time outdoors does a lot to reset my headspace, and is a good dose of soul food. Especially if that walk includes lots of trees and green space. A good dose of fresh air (nice and brisk this time of year) really helps to clear everything out. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, or a bit down post festivities, going out for a long walk might be just what the doctor ordered. Admittedly I live in Victoria currently, which makes it a bit easier to do, but even when faced with snow banks and much colder temperatures in Newfoundland I still found this to be a wonderful practice.
Take In The Festivities
For me, part of the let down after Christmas has to do with letting go of all of the festive lights and fun activities leading up to the holidays. That being said, lots of the fun & festive activities last through the new year, so we have started extending the celebration by taking in various activities between Christmas and New Years. It helps prolong the holiday atmosphere and allows us to have lots of fun together as a family, providing a much needed post Christmas boost.
Find The Humour
It can be so helpful to find something that will put a smile on your face, whether it is the silly slapstick of The Three Stooges, or the crazy antics of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The latter will really help with the gratitude I mentioned above; seeing how crazy other people's families can be is guaranteed to make you feel more warm and fuzzy about your own! Either way, with laughter comes a much needed boost in seratonin, and finding the humour is a sure fire way to help you reclaim your joy.
Give Consumerism A Pass
Great sales on Boxing Day can be incredibly tempting. However the experience of wandering an overcrowded mall, fighting off the hoards and masses can be disheartening. If live action shopping isn't your thing, online sales have their own challenges, specifically the wallet shock you'll experience when the expert marketing engaged to encourage optimal spending on your part hits home come January. I am giving it a pass this year, and find the prospect of relaxing over a warm beverage with my family to be very appealing.
With all of the craziness of the season (parties, mailing deadlines, shopping etc.) it is pretty easy to get worn down. We were thankfully on the mend cold-wise by the time Christmas arrived this year, however my husband and I are both exhausted after a very hectic month. Rest is the simplest thing in the world, but for us I feel it is incredibly beneficial. For the next week we are focusing on letting go of the to do list and making rest a priority, including ample down time and an earlier than usual bedtime. Sleep tends to be the first thing to go for both of us, we look forward to refilling the well and entering the new year in a calm and stress free state of mind.
I would love to know what your favourite post holiday pick me ups are in the comments below!