Oh how the anticipation of the holidays makes me giddy! The magic of traditions has become so precious as the years go on. There can be a downside to it all, however. I am one that has experienced the post-holiday melancholy. I will never forget my first and only really serious bout with it. It was early on in life and hard for me to understand. I was only a seventh grader. That Christmas night, I was overcome with the overwhelming feeling that Christmas was over. My parents, two sisters, and I had had such a blast planning, baking, decorating, watching our favorite TV specials, and opening presents. “Now it’s all over,” I sobbed that night. That feeling lasted way longer than it should have and now in retrospect, I wish that I would have confided in someone about how I was feeling. As I matured, I understood that this feeling was normal. Now as an adult, I revel in the magic of the holidays with my husband and children and my extended family. That wistful post-holiday feeling still rears its ugly head, but only slightly.

Here are some ways that really help me every holiday season to not only thrive in the excitement and holiness of the season, but to carry those feelings well beyond the holidays:

Slow down, sister! Relish the small things each day. Spend some quality time with your family. With the hustle and bustle and material emphasis on the season, we all tend to forget the real meaning of Christmas: celebrating the birth of our Savior. Daily prayer and mediation has been my number one cure for the post-holiday melancholy creepers.

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Get some exercise. When that sad feeling starts to creep in, go outside or go to the gym. Move, move, move. There is no better natural mood buster than a good workout. Endorphins will flow and you will feel wonderful and positive!

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Lean on your bestie. There is nothing quite as soothing as a visit with your best friend. My best friends have always helped my mood go from zero to one hundred within seconds! That real connection (no, not a text, chat, or email) from a real, live visit will not only strengthen your bond, but will make you feel fantastic and loved!

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Get organized! My family always jokes that they know that something is on my mind when they find me organizing a closet or scrubbing the oven. My “cleaning therapy” is really just that, therapy. I find that when I occupy myself with getting something accomplished, I not only feel better, but something that I have been procrastinating on gets done. It’s a great feeling!

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Make plans! Plan a getaway with your spouse and/or a get-together with your friends. The excitement of planning occupies your mind with happy thoughts. You can even think spring! It’s never too early to start planning that garden. Look at some catalogs and websites in anticipation of the warm bounty that spring will provide.

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Relax with coffee and a good book. Take a little breather. Acknowledge your feelings and then enjoy some indulgence. Visit the library and check out a great novel. Take a long soak in the tub and give yourself a nice pedicure. Take some time just for you.

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Partake in some comic relief. You know that one movie that makes you howl every time you watch it? Fire it up! Is there a funny comedian in town? Go see him/her! Do you have that one friend that always makes you chuckle? Invite him/her over! Laughter truly is the best medicine!

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Volunteer your time. There is always a way to be a help to someone else. Contact your church and find out if a family or individual needs some extra help. Get involved in your child’s school and in your community. The time and talents you give to others will be an amazing gift to them! Those good feelings you generate will come back to you tenfold!