Few activities are sadder than putting away holiday lights and decorations as the season comes to a close, especially for those who relish the bliss and good cheer that time of year brings.

For many, the months that follow the holiday season can be challenging, to say the least. After having so much to look forward to at the end of the year, it can feel like January, February, and March last a lifetime. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

With the right mindset, you’ll be less likely to experience the feelings of anxiety that can sometimes prevent you from truly enjoying the winter season. Follow the tips below, and remember to appreciate every gift, tradition, and moment as it comes.

The Science Behind the Slump

Although the “holiday slump” may sound like a clever, albeit make-believe, term, there are some scientific reasons for the gloom-and-doom mentality that can follow the holiday season. For example, you may have switched up your sleep routine due to time off from work, hosting responsibilities, or late-night wrapping duties. Any prolonged disruption to your body’s usual schedule is going to have an effect on both your physical and mental health. And if less sleep isn’t a factor, perhaps changes to your fitness routine or diet have you feeling more sluggish than usual. Whatever the reasons may be, it’s perfectly normal to feel different after the holidays and to require a little extra time to recover.

Many people spend the holidays enjoying time with loved ones, indulging in favorite foods, and more or less celebrating the end of another year. All of those feel-good moments create a euphoric effect in your brain that makes you crave more; therefore, when it comes to an end in January, you naturally might feel a little sad. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to wait for the holidays to enjoy those things, nor do you have to go back to restricting yourself when they are over.

If you set aside time throughout the year for the activities you normally save for the holiday season, such as getting together with relatives and friends, embracing tradition, and preparing favorite meals, you’ll be less likely to dread the long winter months.

The Start of New Possibilities

One of the best ways to overcome the postholiday blues is to look at this time of year as the start of something new, not the end of something great. Whether you choose to plan a trip, start a winter tradition, or commit to a new hobby, planning activities to keep yourself and your family occupied is key.

Get away

It may sound counterintuitive, but planning a trip after the holidays are over is arguably the best way to avoid feeling sad about the end of the season. A family vacation or solo getaway gives you something positive to think about and look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a big trip, either. If you have a local attraction nearby, such as a theater that holds an annual performance, consider purchasing tickets and making a day of it in the city. If you’re the outdoorsy type, winter can be a great time to visit a state or national park, as there are often fewer visitors and the scenery can be just as spectacular.

Make time for yourself

Although the extra time with loved ones is one of the best parts of the season, it can be draining, especially if you consider yourself an introvert. Take ample time after the holidays are over to focus on you. This could include booking an appointment at a spa, spending some time in nature, practicing a hobby you enjoy, and getting adequate rest. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it’s rejuvenating.

Refuel properly

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the holiday foods you love, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing to make your favorite comfort foods throughout the winter. However, be mindful of the way your body feels, and respond accordingly by fueling it with the right foods. The majority of holiday dishes are high in sodium and sugar, which can contribute to that sluggish feeling you may experience in the days and weeks that follow. Replenish your body with nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. And be sure to drink plenty of water, too, to restore balance to your digestive system.

Ease back into work

Going back to a full work schedule is one of the aspects of postholiday life many people dread the most, and understandably so. If you work a nine-to-five office job, waking up early and sitting in front of a computer all day can be especially tiresome after a long break. However, instead of packing all your time off into covering the holiday period, make sure to save time off for the weeks and months after the holidays are over. If you have time available, you should consider taking a day off every few months to avoid burnout and renew your productivity.

The Graceful Recovery

If you’re tired of feeling tired after the holiday season, rest assured, you’re not alone. But if the thought of getting back to normal puts you in a state of dread every year, you can take steps to prevent these feelings and actually enjoy the start of the year.