Are you suffering from post-holiday depression?

Renee Ann Smith —  December 28, 2011 — 33 Comments

Now that Christmas is over, are you feeling a little down?  Do you find yourself wanting to cry for no reason? Do you feel a longing for something you can’t quite put into words? You’re probably suffering from a case of the after Christmas blues.

Not so sure? Here’s a quiz for you. Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: You’re healthy and have a stable job, but you’re vaguely dissatisfied and often lonely. You spent weeks dreading the holiday. Your Christmas celebration fell flat. You’re certain that everyone else you know—the folks you work with, your neighbors and friends—all are happier than you are.

Scenario 2: You have a happy marriage and loving family. You spent weeks planning the perfect holiday. Your Christmas celebration was lovely and meaningful. The meal was the best you’d ever produced. You spent time with your family without any major outbreaks or fighting.

Question: Which of these scenarios will most likely lead to a good case of post-holiday blues?

Answer: Either one!

You may have thought you did everything “right” to avoid the syndrome this year and were surprised when it hit you anyway. But depression is all about feelings that attack us in spite of the truths we know in our heads.

It doesn’t seem to matter if we’re single or married, going through a rough patch or living an uneventful life, when the after Christmas blues seep into our souls like a cold rain on a chill winter’s day.

For some of us, holiday time brings to the surface our failures, griefs, broken dreams, and unmet longings. And we wallow in them. Oh, we know better. We tell ourselves that life is not a Hallmark movie. That we’re expecting too much. That no husband, friend, or loved one could live up to our expectations. After all, there is no person in existence who can meet all our needs, always be there for us, know us inside and out and love us anyway, make our wildest dreams come true . . .

Or . . . maybe there is . . .

C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a longing which nothing on earth can fulfill, the most likely reason is, I was made for another world.”

For me, this quote brings home the fact that nothing in this world will satisfy us forever. Oftentimes joy accompanies our journey, but God did not intend for us to find our ultimate happiness here.

So our blues can be a reminder that even the best earth has to offer will leave us wanting more. That even the most wonderful experiences are only a foretaste of what God has in store for His children.

Somehow allowing my blues to serve a purpose gives me a tad more strength to endure them.

Now that we’ve identified the source of our blues, what do we do about them? Tune in later this week for part II.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

33 responses to Are you suffering from post-holiday depression?

  1. No, no blues for me.. We had a lovely family Christmas, no big expensive gifts, just old fashioned love and being together. It can be a hard time though, for the lonely.
    God Bless. Crystal Mary Lindsey

  2. Renee Ann, what a GREAT and timely post — THANK YOU!! I am definitely scenario #2 and yet I got hit full force with that awful malaise you talked about, some of it career-related, which SO threw me for a loop since I am so blessed with family, friends and career. Then my prayer partner said something that really helped me, realigning my priorities all over again. Here’s the statement:

    As far as your career is concerned: are you writing for yourself or are you writing for God. If you are writing for yourself, then you are open to disappointment, frustration, and depression. If you are writing for God, it doesn’t matter what happens, because you know He is in control and He will see to it that HIS WILL is accomplished. And in that knowledge, there is peace.

    I gotta say that one paragraph kick-started me into full-blown gratitude again, which immediately, for me, dispels the depression. But I am VERY anxious to read Part II to see what you have to say as well.


    • Julie, thanks for sharing these encouraging words about the writing journey. Since I’ve struggled with those thoughts, this is a great reminder! . . . It saddens me that there seems to be a lot of pressure on you published authors since we readers just love you and want you to keep on writing. And I’m really glad your prayer partner encouraged you–since I know so many folks count on your bright, joyful spirit encouraging them 🙂

      Wishing you many blessings in the new year!

  3. I have always felt that let down after the weeks of preparations and I have to admit, dread for the holiday season. I even remember feeling like this in my teens. Coming from a large family, there was always a lot of drama and there continues to be. sigh. I have always wanted to have a simple quiet Christmas that is focused of the love of Christ. Somehow, as much as I try, the pressures and commercialism of the season always seems to win out. I suffer from depression anyway, but it is always worse in the winter, the shortened days of darkness doesn’t help. I do look forward to your part II Renee!

  4. Dear Renee – So good to have some time over the Christmas break to catch up with blog reading and comments. My first semester this year teaching drama in two public charter schools has been grueling – I totally identify with your C.S. Lewis quote – I was made for another world! This is my third year teaching at these schools and administration and focus has dramatically changed – I’m in a war zone – but why should I be surprised – it is the clash of worldviews.

    So, rather than feeling let down this week – I am ecstatic to be HOME and in HIS WORLD in the SANCTUARY of Godly husband and home. Revving up for changes in January to finish out my last semester in the public school setting – then onto the teaching world I know better – but what a faith walk in the way of God’s provision.

    I’ll be freelancing home school instruction – back in the saddle of teaching literature, English, drama, and History (His Story) via Principle Approach Education with five other women in a home school resource network the Lord has brought us together to create. Do visit our blog here:

    Each of our skill sets are unique and I’m excited about the freedom to teach Christ as the foundation of all learning. I do want to look more into some of your writing and connections as I will be looking for reading recommendations. I’ve amassed quite a resource library of my own and we’re cataloging it this week for lending. Always interested in new titles.

    May your new year be blessed with grand new vistas in Him!

  5. Wonderful post. Thank you for the reminder that we are not ‘home’ and through these times, we gain strength. Thank you for sharing!

  6. OK, coming back next week to hear what to do with my blues 🙂
    Thanks for linking up.

  7. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. What a great post! He alone can fill the void, and I love that He set it up like that…

  9. we had a wonderful Christmas but I always get a bit down since we are away from extended family. Even through I am with my wonderful husband and children I miss my Mom and Dad. You are never too old to miss your parents:) Hope you have a lovely Happy New Year!!

  10. What a powerful post. I love your blog and I am a new follower from the Wednesday blog hop. God bless you.


  11. Hi Renee,

    Thanks for stopping by my post “Smoldering Brown Eyes and a Neck that Smells of Toothpaste” yesterday. I’m so glad you enjoyed that linked post.

    Nice to meet you! It’s fun to browse your site. I’m not feeling any post-holiday blues, but wrestled with some a month ago after transitioning job stuff. Running to the heart of God, journaling, talking honestly with my man and friends were healing.

    Your C.S. Lewis quote is wonderful! Amen. Blessings!


  12. I posted on something similar but with a little different angle… This was very interesting. So looking forward to 2012!

  13. Renee, you wrote this for me. Everything turned out great, but now the house is quiet and the memories are flooding me! A new experience; I’m not usually like this. Happy New Year.

  14. I was made for another world. C. S. Lewis always blesses me with his words — as did you with this post. My husband goes back to work tomorrow after twelve days at home. I may get those “blues” you’re writing about.

  15. The busyness of the season kept blue thoughts away, but the eve on going back to work, found them knocking full force. I am so glad there is Someone to confide in and whose word is a firm foundation. He brings joy! Thanks for sharing what so many of us can identify with.

  16. Thanks for sharing what so many of us can identify with. I’m so glad for the joy that comes in the morning….

  17. I’ve heard it said that after every mountain top there is a valley. Christmas can be a wonderful time but it also brings up memories of Christmases past and one can get very nostalgic thinking about it. If you think about it enough, it will make you want to cry. The older you get the greater the possibility of this happening. Knowing that God is in control can help tremendously.
    New Year Blessings,

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