I don’t know about you, but it hits me every year. I’m not talking about a traditional hangover from too much booze the night before. I am referring to an emotional hangover. Once New Year’s Day is done, I wake up weighed down by 1) sadness that the holiday season is over; 2) dread of getting back into the “swing” of work, school and schedules; and 3) a sense of loss that there’s nothing to look forward to. And if that’s not enough, I beat myself up for being so juvenile in my thinking. Why, after 45 years, do I still feel this holiday hangover? What can I do about it so it doesn’t happen again?
Something that occurred to me the other day is that the winter holiday season isn’t the only kind of holiday (emotional) hangover that occurs. Heck, it happens at the end of a great vacation. Since you are in the business of planning great vacations for people, I thought it would be helpful to put together a 3-step kit on how to relieve the holiday hangover, so that you can pass on the same advice to your clients when they return from their next great vacation planned by you.
Here are my 3 steps to Relieving the Holiday Hangover:
Step 1: Realize that the experiences of the holiday aren’t the only way for you to feel the improved emotions you felt on holiday. You can feel that way anyway. In other words, the experiences you had on the holiday gave you a boost in your thoughts and emotions. If you enjoyed being with family you don’t see often and being with them made you feel happy, connected, heart-warmed, and like laughing all the time, know that you have the ability to feel those ways without the visit.
Said another way, the visit with out-of-town family is an “external” vehicle to those feelings. But with some focus, you can discover your own “internal” vehicle to the same feelings, without the actual experience. When you discover your internal vehicle to the same feelings, and hold the feeling for a while, life will deliver experiences that make you feel the same way. When you discover your own “internal” vehicle to the same feelings, you also discover your own power and how to create the life you want.
Step 2: Imagine more and observe less. One of the reasons why we get the holiday hangover is that whilst on holiday, you disrupted your schedule and found new points of focus. The new points of focus were obviously pleasing (or else you would be feeling relief that the holiday is over). You observed something new that was more pleasing than what you are accustomed to observing in your everyday schedule. Instead of returning from your holiday and observing the world around you, spend more time imagining the life you want. Spend more time imagining where your life is taking you. Spend more time considering the possibilities and less time observing “what is.” If you enjoy writing, get a journal and write in it overnight about what might be coming into your life.
Step 3: Find appreciation in things that go wrong. If there is one lesson 2015 taught me, it’s that everything is always working out for you…even when it looks like it isn’t. So when something doesn’t go the way you want it to go, you can bet your mother’s life that there is a good reason for it. “When 1 door closes, another better door opens.” What I like about this lesson is that there is NO loss. And, when something goes wrong, it’s a great opportunity to appreciate what is going right. Even in the little stuff. For example, if the heat in your house stops working, instead of cursing the heater, you can appreciate the house you live in, the running water, the solid, protective walls and all the other comforts of first world living.
As Marianne Williamson once said, “a miracle is just a shift in perspective.” Waking up to the holiday hangover is a great opportunity to use your mental muscle to shift your perspective and then watch the miracles show up in your life. Follow these 3 steps to shift your perspective. I know my own shifts in perspective have allowed amazing, incredible, fantastic miracles that showed up for me in 2015. I can’t wait to see what miracles come to me in 2016.