by: Michael Kabel

Once the thrill and rush of the holidays comes and goes, the malaise of the post-holiday slowdown sets in, leaving many people - parents especially - feeling as if the ground's fallen out from beneath them.

It's a natural feeling. Experts say a feeling of sadness or even temporary depression is to be expected after periods of prolonged anticipation. The mind keys itself up for so long that when the event finally passes the brain isn't able to readily cope with the lack of stimulation. Research indicates millions of people in the United States alone struggle to overcome depression, anxiety, and even physical pain such as headaches immediately following the holidays’ conclusion.

But the blues that come after Christmas, et cetera don't have to last, and – no matter how it seems at the time – they're not an insurmountable obstacle, either. Presented below are five ways to get between the holidays and New Year's Day without feeling lost in between.

Start planning the new year's accomplishments.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is a fantastic time to get organized  about what you want and expect from the coming twelve months. As a way to sort your thoughts, you should make a list of everything, from all parts of you life, that you want to improve. Want to lose fifteen pounds? Put it on the list. Ask for a raise? Put that down too. Depression fades once the mind and body gets active.

Keep yourself mentally stimulated.

Depression, like a shadow, creeps around when we're standing still or not challenging ourselves. Take in a movie – fortunately, the movie industry releases some of its best films at the end of the year. Take a trip to a local museum or art gallery and take comfort in works of culture.

The end of the year is also a great time to find new interests, too. If you've been meaning to start a new hobby but haven't found the time, start now. The enthusiasm you'll feel will wipe away the gloom.

There's no substitute for exercise, no matter what.

There's no denying the effects of natural, healthy endorphins as an antidote to depression. If you've resolved to lose weight in the coming year, begin your regimen early. Also, write the exercise plan down as a checklist, so you can measure your progress and monitor your commitment. The sense of accomplishment will bolster your sense of progress.

Keep your friends close.

There's a tendency among busy working people to spend time together leading up to the holidays but then to go their separate ways afterwards. The truth is, people with depression need their friends just as much during the holiday aftermath.

Arrange to hold a "return expedition" with a friend, where you take back or exchange all the things you both didn't want for the holidays. Take an afternoon to sip coffee (or spirits) together and decompress.

Reboot your living conditions

Sometimes making a fresh start is hard when you're shut inside the house during cold winter months with little sunshine. Since you can't change the weather, change your interiors. Find some new wall art or even furniture to put into the house, so that the rooms feel a little different.

Remember that each person is different, and that some of these techniques will work more for some people than others. If you feel your depression is too heavy, we urge you to strongly consider seeking professional counseling. There's no good reason depression should control one minute more of your life, after the holidays or any other time of year.