There comes the time every year, between December 26th and January 31st, that just feels...well...awkward. Christmas is over, the hype of giving and receiving presents is over, and you're regretting all the cheese, pasta, and cookies you ate between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Your Jewish friends may still be celebrating Chanukah and lighting the Menorah, but your holiday is over and you're off from work or school or whatever "responsibilities" you normally have.
You find yourself waking up at 6 a.m., only to realize you do not need to be up, and end up sleeping until noon. You sleep through your workout class, you eat leftover lasagna for lunch (well really breakfast), and you don't leave the house until 2 p.m. You beat yourself up for being a bum and can't remember if its Friday the 27th or Monday the 30th. Friends are texting about New Years Eve plans and you're worried the pantsuit you bought on Black Friday won't fit after all the holiday goodies.
Enough sulking! Here are the do's and dont's to battling the most awkward week of the year:
Do: Stick to your schedule.
Whether it's waking up at a decent hour, eating right and working out, seeing friends, taking time to yourself, or going to bed on time, keep yourself busy and on a similar schedule to what you're used to. Getting off track for a week will make it that much harder to get out of bed when the alarm goes off after New Years.
Don't: Get off track.
Don't sleep in, stay up all night, eat like crap, take time off from the gym, be too busy, or isolate. These will waste your week off and make it that much easier to hit snooze after New Years.
Do: Eat healthy and work out regularly.
Get to the gym. Maybe not every day, but be consistent. Keep the same workout schedule you normally do, and maybe try a new workout or class!
Don't: Use this as an excuse to be "fat and lazy".
It will only hurt you in the long run. It is much more difficult to get back into the gym after taking a full week off than just a couple days. Similarly, eating healthy for at least 2 full weeks will make your body crave healthy food, however, eating unhealthy for as little as 2 days will make your body crave unhealthy food.
Do: Catch up on free reading or your favorite TV series.
If you started a book over the summer and didn't get to finish it, pick it up and read it through the last page! If you've missed the last few episodes of your favorite show due to deadlines and holiday prep, now's the time to get yourself caught up!
Don't: Stay in bed all day bingeing a new show for the entire week.
Not only will you go stir crazy and your friends will worry about the fact that you haven't showered in a few days, but you will just have one more show to catch up on. While it's okay to rest, relax, and unwind with a show or two when you have free time, don't spend all your time under your covers in your bedroom starting Hunger Games or re-watching One Tree Hill.
Do: Practice self care.
Pick up that new face mask your friend told you about, order the bath bombs you saw on Instagram and pick up new make up at Sephora. Take a bath, have a spa night with friends or by yourself, get a mani-pedi or massage, light a candle and enjoy some self-care. This week is like a permanent "Self Care Sunday".
Don't: Neglect yourself or spread yourself too thin.
While it may seem super exciting to have a week off to catch up with old friends, see a new art exhibit, try a new restaurant, or take a day trip, don't forget to allow time for yourself to decompress. Whether it's an entire day or two midway through the week, or an hour a day throughout the awkward 7 day period, find time for YOU to recharge.
Do: Light the fireplace.
Whether you had your fireplace burning all throughout Christmas or never got around to it, get that baby lit! Snuggle up with a good book or movie and make yourself some hot-cocoa or tea and enjoy the warmth of the fire alone or with loved ones. Be grateful and feel peace in such a timely task.
Don't: Waste the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of winter!
It doesn't have to be lighting the fireplace, but don't forget about the simple pleasures of winter, like wearing your favorite hat and scarves, snuggling up on the couch with a good book, or taking a nap on the couch with your dog.
Do: See the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center.
How many of us miss the opportunity to see the tree because we are too busy meeting deadlines at work, finishing finals for school, vacationing, holiday shopping, or, let's be honest, avoiding the tourists of NYC? This awkward time between Christmas and New Years is the perfect opportunity to go see the tree. The Christmas hype has faded and people are looking forward to NYE more than ever, but the tree is still standing tall, and is lonely as hell.
Don't: Save it for next year.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The tree only stays up until January 2nd. Go see it before it's too late!
Do: All the other winter activities you've been dreaming of.
Go Ice skating, make a snow man or igloo, go skiing or snowboarding, have a snowball fight, go sledding, go on a winter hike, make a snow angel, catch snow flakes on your tongue, go in an outdoor hot tub, collect pine cones, eat grilled cheese and tomato soup, bake cookies, make chili, and drink eggnog or hot chocolate. The list can go on...
Do: Shop the after-Christmas sales.
This can be done online, in your PJs! Every store has a holiday sale, and it only gets better after Christmas when everyone has holiday money to spend! Buy yourself that one item you wanted but didn't get, save yourself from the wrath of the one you forgot to gift, or sign up for a monthly subscription for the new year.
Don't: Blow all your holiday money at once.
While the post-Christmas sales may seem awesome, they are often a ploy by companies to take all your holiday money! Whether it's your work bonus or a check from your grandparents, they know you have money to spend and they want it! Enjoy yourself, but don't spend it all in one place or blow it just because you're getting a good deal.
Do: Donate food, clothes, toys, or your time to a local charity.
The holidays are a time for giving. Clean out your closets, toy chests, and pantries. Drop off leftovers to a local charity or plan ahead of time and make double. Send new and gently used clothing and toys to those less fortunate, after all, you did just get a new wardrobe and no one is playing with last year's beanie babies. The sadness of poverty, hunger, homelessness, and loneliness hits harder during the holidays; If you can, volunteer at a soup kitchen: time is the most invaluable gift during these winter months.
Don't: Be ungrateful during your week off.
Don't complain about the one or two gifts that weren't under the tree. Remember, some people had no tree at all for presents to go under. Be grateful for time spent with family and friends and appreciate your time off from your busy life!
Do: Make the most of this awkward week.
Take some of the suggestions mentioned above, or come up with your own ideas! Just don't sit around and do nothing! Plan some fun activities, catch up on errands, and prepare to go back to work by relaxing, having fun, and staying on track.
Don't: Be awkward!
Don't partake in the "dont's" of this article! Don't waste this week, because before you know it, New Years will be over, and it's back to reality!
Use some of these suggestions to get yourself out of the rut between Christmas and New Years! Remember, the holidays are a time for love, compassion, and fun! Smile at strangers, buy coffee for the next person in line, and say thank you when someone holds the door for you. Plan fun activities and allow yourself to rest. This week does not have to suck!