Hit the Festive Doldrums?

So here we are… the day after Christmas. Boxing Day, as we refer to it here in the UK. For an insight into this rather oddly named date, the culturally curious may wish to click here 😉

But I’m not interested in linguistic challenges right now. I’m interested in how you all are managing the transitional period between Christmas and New Year.

Christmas has taken a whole 24 days in coming (earlier if shop decorations are anything to go by!) and took only one day to leave us. Depending on your circumstances, the day may have passed in a delirium of food, sparkles and laughter, or it may have dragged slower than Garfield on a particularly lasagne-free Monday.

Either way, it’s over. And we have 4 whole days to get through before New Year’s Eve…

Our rational heads tell us to spend this time resting (if we are so lucky as to have this time off work), enjoying our presents, spending time with our kids (and the festive TV that is still being churned out!), and eating up the chocolate that our shelves are laden with.

It’s possible however, for the restful potential to get sabotaged by a heightened awareness of all the changes that a New Year can bring. After all, we who have lived lives with frequent transition can develop an increased sensitivity to it… and an impending future can soon cast a shadow over our present.

So are you holding your breath for the start for 2017? Instead of pressing pause until the 1st of January, what do you want to do with the next few days?

What do you want these interim days to feel like? What do you want to experience? Who do you want to spend time with? What books do you want to read? Films to watch? Emails or letters to write?

I want to transition from Christmas to New Years actively, rather than passively. I don’t want to just wait for the next event to happen. I want to make the next few days event-ful. Even if that’s ‘just’ the action of resting 🙂

So, transition experts… how are you managing the next four days? Me? I’m starting with the chocolate… 😉


  1. Sherry says:

    Hi Rachel: thanks for highlighting the potential for increased sensitivity to these year-end transition days. I have always experienced strong emotions at this time of the year but have never been able to identify why.

    I feel a strange sense of freedom this week – maybe as the pressure of an unusual family Christmas is over, but also have a strong desire to focus my attention and use these interim days to reflect deeply on the impact of 2016 – as well as to tie up loose ends. Endings are always very hard for me and I have no plans for New Years Eve, dreading it, in fact! I have a strong urge to to revisit the past year as many events have triggered strong associations with long-established and familiar patterns of loss, separation, endings and groundlessness. (Brexit vote was a big one!)

    I’ve just returned from Christmas in Bath with 75% of my family – a first! Being with my youngest brother and his family (they live in Atlanta, Ga), my parents (from Ontario) and my sister who now lives in Bath but has spent the last 20 years in Hong Kong, should have been a very happy time but it brought lots of tension, anxiety and family conflict. We spend very little time together and have very different experiences of our early lives in Canada, the U.K. the Channel Islands and the Netherlands. I’m an ATCK Canadian living in the U.K. for the past 25 years (all over London, Beaconsfield, Bristol, Luton and now Hastings) who started kindergarten in the US and attended 7 different schools in the US, Canada, the U.K. and the Channel Islands by the time I was 13. In my early 20’s, my parents moved to the Netherlands (for ten years) with one brother and sister, leaving my other brother and I working and at university in Canada.
    Transitions are a way of life – but dreaded!
    Over the next few days, I hope to connect with people I really want to spend time with, eat Nanaimo bars ( a Canadian treat), finish reading ‘Third Culture Kids’, write some journal notes about the challenges of 2016 – and try not to get too anxious about next Monday!
    Thanks for the opportunity for a ramble!

    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      A ‘ramble’ is always welcome, Sherry! I’m sorry Christmas was hard… it can get so loaded with hopes and expectations, but frequent mobility can really complicate family relationships, especially if family separation comes into it… Revisiting the past year is something that many people are drawn to as a year closes, and maybe some reframing could be of some value? For every challenge you journal/list, could you also note down how you met that challenge? What resources did you use to engage with it? What did you learn from it about yourself? About the world? In this way we can make sure that our brains notice our competencies as well as the things that have been hard. And definately make some plans for New Year’s Eve… even if that simply involves Fireworks on TV, bubble bath and chocolate 🙂 But a plan reduces the anxiety of the unknown that also comes with a New Year. I’ll be posting soon about a ‘goal sheet’ I used last year instead of new year’s resolutions, that might give some inspiration too 🙂 Love your goals for these next days… lots of time for connection, reflection and self care (chocolate counts!) Thanks again for stopping by!

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