You had a great time over the holidays. Your favorite relatives came to town, your holiday dinner was a resounding success (even the roast was Rachael Ray perfect!), your boss gave you a really nice bonus and a couple of extra days off, you didn’t spill eggnog on your party outfit, not once, and the parties--well, they were wonderful fun. New Year’s Eve was terrific--you couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season.

So why do you feel so glum? Why are you moping around, looking at your holiday decorations with a bleary eye and not making a single move towards all your well thought out New Year’s resolutions? Why do you feel drained, unmotivated, Energizer Bunny in reverse, out of sorts, when--given the past two weeks of relaxation and fun--you should feel buoyant, energized ‘New-Year- here-I-come’?

Because you’re depressed. Because after all that wonderful holiday hoopla, regular life is a drag. Look at the contrast! Parties, buying gifts, receiving gifts, special delectable foods everywhere, lots of love going around versus work, chores, bills to pay, kids to rein in, diets to go on. It’s a wonder you’re not more depressed!

Yet the solution isn’t to go on an eternal round of holidays: as tempting as that sounds, it too would get burdensome eventually. The solution is twofold:

- Appreciate what was
- Appreciate what is

Appreciate what was:

Take some time to think about those moments of the holidays you most treasure. Let how those moments mattered, their value to you, absorb into your very being. Frame a couple of pictures from the holidays so you have the sweet memories always close by. Put away your holiday decorations and wrappings lovingly, letting yourself smile at the memories they bring. Let yourself know that the goodness of that time is deep within you always.

Then--turn towards the present.

Appreciate what is:

Deliberately look at everything in your life with new eyes. Find something to value, to appreciate, in even the most mundane activities. Paying bills, for example, may be painful, so think of how much you value the goods and services those bills represent. Getting your kids back to earth can be challenging, so think about how much you appreciate their energy and marvelous life-force (even as you’re prying them away from their new favorite Internet game).

Picking up the humdrum of work may be a downer, so deliberately look for something within your work that is meaningful to you personally, that brings you joy. Maybe it’s that one client you really like, maybe it’s stretching your talents in a certain arena, maybe it’s that co-worker you have fun talking with. No matter what it is, find something to appreciate.

The party is never truly over. Use the good times of the holidays to put a smile in your heart that you can feel anytime the going gets rough. Point yourself firmly in the direction of all the opportunities and potential of the New Year and you’ll have a winning combination: the cherished memory of the old and the eager joy of the new.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent book is "The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing, 2005). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Noelle welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Noelle anytime at