Those Post Holiday Cues

Those Post Holiday Cues Hey there, friends -  who’s exhausted? Has that marathon stretch from October 31 through the past several days got you down? Or is “down" even the right way to put it?  I don’t know

Those Post Holiday Cues

Hey there, friends –  who’s exhausted? Has that marathon stretch from October 31 through the past several days got you down? Or is “down” even the right way to put it?  I don’t know about you, but I always experience an odd feeling immediately after Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a mixture of exhausted, contented, restless, unsettled, pleased, grateful, bored, and more than a touch of relieved. It can really get me stuck in a rut. I even came up with a word for it:  janivalent.  Stay with me here…

Janivalent– /ˈjan ivələnt/


The state of having contradictory feelings following the winter holiday season, generally occurring anywhere between December 26 and Twelfth Night. Unchecked, a most unproductive condition of being. 

Syn.: winfuddled, snowralysis.

Ex.: “She frittered away her remaining days off, distracted and janivalent as she binge-watched the Hallmark Channel for hours.”

Janivalence occurs because the big stuff (that we maybe overdid?) is over, and perhaps we took some extra time off in the name of relaxation. And sure, sometimes engaging in a little mindless activity is helpful and healthy. That said, I know I sometimes overestimate the need for a stretch of unstructured time, and I think I’m far enough along in this life to recognize that I really hate wasting a day spinning my wheels. I just feel, well, kind of gross. Acknowledging and accepting my “janivalence” generally helps – it cues me into action. 

Action doesn’t necessarily mean I’m furiously reorganizing the pantry or purging the unused holiday decor and ornaments. Or even plotting and writing things out in my new planner (yes, I already have it ready to go). But it might mean thinking through and deciding upon some intentional things, as opposed to allowing the hours to tick by without any shape at all. That can wear me out as much or more than partying into the wee hours. 

So in the name of battling janivalence, here are some ways I handle this weird space of time:

  • I start contemplating my theme for the year. Some people make resolutions, some people do words – I create a theme. Something like, “Healing through understanding myself,” or “Embracing new experiences, big or small.” Along with that theme, I start coming up with a vision board (if you Google that one you’ll see all kinds of inspiration). Because vision boards are a little outside of my comfort zone (I’m not crafty or particularly artistic) I find the process of completing one a little awkward, but really enlightening. I’ve been staring at mine in my office all year and recognizing that much of what I included – go figure – actually happened.
  • I block out time to write thank you notes. For gifts, of course, but maybe even for things that people wouldn’t ordinarily thank someone for. Like, “Hey, thanks for taking a little time to listen to me the other day.” Or “I’m really grateful that you didn’t mind when my dog jumped up and gave you a sloppy kiss.”
  • I plan a party or social gathering. Or better yet, let my kids plan one with their peeps. Nothing like a little social interaction in the house to get you out of a winter funk. Plus, it forces you to clean up a little, and maybe get the expired stuff out of the fridge (think: teenagers rummaging around for soda and discovering the fuzzy green thing that used to be a casserole instead).
  • On the other side of the coin, I plan a personal retreat. Could be short and simple, like spending several early morning hours at the botanical garden before the rest of the world shows up. Or more complex, like actually going away to a quiet cabin for an entire weekend. Although I’m an extrovert, these kinds of retreats are so meaningful for me I sometimes ask for one as a Christmas gift. Getting something planned and on the calendar ensures that I’ll make time for it.
  • I look at fitness-related event listings online and start daydreaming. Notice I didn’t say “Resolve to exercise more,” because that feels like a good intention waiting to disappoint me. I look through the calendar of events for the spring/summer and ponder what it would be like to actually complete one. I’m not naturally athletic, so again, this is pushing myself a little outside of my comfort zone. Without beating myself up too much last year, I managed to complete a metric century bike ride – something that would never have happened without me wondering about it months earlier. A big event doesn’t have to be fitness related either. You could do some daydreaming around learning a new language, planning a trip, or remodeling a space.

I want to make the most of all days, whether they come with wrapping paper and champagne, or gray skies and early sunsets. So what do you think? How might you take a cue from all the post-holiday feels, and turn them into something inspirational to kick off your year?

Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive 2019!

Sara S. Skillen
Sara S. Skillen is the owner of SkillSet Coaching & Organizing, a professional organizing and ADHD/productivity coaching business. Her passion is helping all kinds of people manage their stuff, their time, and their tasks. She is a Certified Organizer Coach®, a Certified Professional Organizer®, and an Evernote Certified Consultant. Sara is the author of the recently-published Organizing and Big Scary Goals: Working With Discomfort and Doubt to Create Real life Order. Her writing has also appeared in Music City Moms, Entrepreneur, and Angie’s List Experts, as well as her blog “The Stuff Behind The Stuff.” She lives in Franklin, TN with her husband, two teenagers, and two extremely productive and focused Labrador retrievers.