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Coming to grips with the very real, post-holiday slump

Happy New Year! Feeling tired? You’re not alone!

Raise your hand

If you took holiday time away and returned to work exhausted. If you’re feeling like your intrinsic get-up-and-go has gotten-up-and-gone, you’re not alone. This experience has been the topic of conversation for years. Even before the omnipresent exhaustion onset by the pandemic, employees have been returning from vacation with less motivation and focus. So, what’s a person to do?

The struggle is real

What you’re feeling is real and, no, you’re not the only one suffering lack luster enthusiasm. If you returned to work feeling anxious about your to-do-list, cranky about meetings, irritated by your schedule, extra-frustrated with your commute, lonely among coworkers, and too damn tired to keep those resolutions – you’re likely in the throes of a holiday hangover.

Important note on mental health

In full transparency, I am an Executive Coach, not a mental health expert. So, if you, or someone you know, is struggling with a mental health condition, please seek help from a licensed mental health practitioner. The CDC website for mental health is an excellent starting point. This guidance should be prioritized above everything else that follows.

Data gathering

With all of that in mind, I set out to understand this phenomenon using well researched, expert-endorsed data. Here’s what I found:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes the term “holiday blues,” as feelings of anxiety and stress that come up around the holidays and may be due to unrealistic expectations or memories connected to the holiday season.

  • A 2015 study by NAMI indicated that 64% of respondents say they are “affected,” and 24% said the holidays, “affect them a lot.”

  • A recent article in included data from a 2006 report by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, published by the American Psychological Association. This article breaks down the research factors, quantitative findings, and incident rates of holiday stress.

  • In 2022, published a medically reviewed article, exploring how the pandemic could exacerbate the holiday blues.

The complexity

The data above helped me better understand why and how we become so tightly wound during the holidays which, is key to understanding the hang-over that awaits us on the other side.

There are several factors and contributors that lead up to the holiday blues and play into the post-holiday slump. The impact of those factors can vary by gender, socioeconomic status, professional standing, time off, location, family obligations, and general mental health.

The complexity increases as you layer on macro variables like those experienced at the end of 2022. Disastrous travel failures, extreme weather events, and the increased spread of viral diseases (COVID variants, influenzas, and RSV) added fuel to the flames of holiday stress.

Seasonal planetary considerations

As stated in my prior post, Astrology is the study of seasonality. Leveraging that information can allow us to discover a future filled with greater potential and productivity – if we are willing to open our minds. As an Executive Coach, most of my clients leverage seasonal insights to inform planning, execution, and risk mitigation.

The Astrology of now

In the Northern Hemisphere, light decreased steadily, and temperatures dropped as we inched closer to the Winter Solstice. The holiday blues may crop up in November, ebb, and flow through December, and linger into January <- YOU ARE HERE.

On January 6, 2023, we will experience the first Full Moon on the year. Full moons increase emotional activity and intuition. They also help facilitate completion, closure, and release. The kind of emotional energy and closure depends on the zodiacal sign hosting the Full Moon.

Our first Full Moon will be in the sign of Cancer. This Lunar energy is typically beneficial because the Moon is at home in this sign. As with all Full Moons, the Sun will be in the opposite zodiacal sign (in this case Capricorn). The notion of opposites is important because it requires balance between both ends of the axis to be most productive.

The Cancer Moon surfaces:

  • Deep emotions and changeable feelings which can show up as insecurity or irritation.

  • Memories of childhood, family, mother-figures, and home.

  • A desire to nurture and protect our loved ones, property, and legacy.

Meanwhile, the Capricorn Sun drives us to:

  • Focus on responsibility, discipline, and productivity.

  • Embrace efficiency, direction, and structure.

  • Lead the completion of projects and assignments.

Navigating this moment

As stated above, contact a mental health professional for individual support, as needed. Next, consider using the Full Moon in Cancer to help bring the holiday hang-over to conclusion. Consequently, these activities align closely to the coping recommendations mentioned in the research.

  • Stay productive by leaning back into pre-holiday work and healthy lifestyle routines (adequate sleep, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and consistent wake/sleep times).

  • Give yourself space and grace upon returning to work and let things ramp up slowly.

  • If you have the option, work from home (when possible), until the third week of January.

  • Embrace all of it - nostalgia, sadness, regret, dashed expectations, financial worry, and exhaustion.

  • Then make a conscious effort to LET.IT.GO.

Looking ahead

Letting go creates space for gratitude, hope, and optimism – the mindset needed to reframe and refocus.

January 21, 2023, plan for the Aquarius New Moon which will be more detached and intellectual – just what we need to work smarter instead of harder.

New year, new opportunities

Want to increase your performance as a leader? Curious about how to integrate future planetary cycles into your business or personal development? Think this could help others? Please share with your network and check out my coaching and consulting services at Reach me via email, phone, @AstralAcuity on Instagram, and through LinkedIn.

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