How to Recover From the Holiday Season

You did it! You survived another holiday season. Congrats on making it out to the other side. Quick question though, how are you feeling? Follow-up question, how’s your bank account feeling? If you’re anything like me, you were likely doing your best Rick Ross impression and blowing money fast (for the worthy cause of smiling friends and family of course). Now it’s time to switch gears and get back on track. Let’s talk about how to recover from the holiday season.

How to recover from the holiday season financially

There’re a few ways to go about getting your wallet and budget back on track.

  • Challenge yourself to a no-spend month
  • Track your spending
  • Don’t neglect your credit

Challenger yourself to a no-spend month

Andrea Woroch (via BankRate.com) offers an excellent, if not difficult, solution for financial recovery after the holiday season: no-spend January. This monetary detox gives you a chance to reset after making it rain on Amazon. For one month, you focus solely on your necessities (food, bills, housing, etc) and ditch the extras (movies, games, that $300 pair of shoes you know you don’t need).

Take advantage of this new approach to your budget and start the year stacking your money. Once you have your necessities in order, stash what you have left so you’re better prepared for the next holiday season. Remember, you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.

Track you spending

Wandering around aimlessly won’t get you to your goals. Making sure you keep an eye on your spending is something we at Nav.it STRONGLY advocate for and it’s even more important when you find yourself in a monetary hole. Many financial sites like NerdWallet suggest the 50/30/20 rule. 50% of your income goes to your necessities, 30% to things you want, and the last 20% to savings and knocking out debt. Combine that with a spending tracker like the Nav.it app and you’ll know exactly how your money is moving and how close you are to getting out of that holiday hole.

Don’t neglect your credit

Debt can be scary, especially when the interest starts to hit. However, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. For at least the first month of the new year, you may even want to adjust your 50/30/20 to 50/20/30 just to get ahead on higher-interest cards.

A tip my uncle taught me was switching balances to new cards. Companies LOVE to send out new card offers and many of them come with some perks like no interest for the first 12 months. Transfer your balance to one of those cards and you give yourself a year of breathing room without interest piling up.

How to recover from the holiday season mentally

Let’s be honest, the holidays can be just as mentally draining as they are financially draining. Take some time to reset and get your mind right for the rest of your year.

  • Catch up on entertainment you may have missed (shows, movies, video games, etc)
  • Dedicate some time to yourself
  • Get comfortable saying “no” for at least January

Catch up on entertainment you may have missed

In today’s hustle culture, taking any time to do something that’s not seen as productive is taboo. I’m here to tell you, get that out of your head right now. You worked hard, you traveled to the in-laws, you spent all that money, you dodged those hot-button issues, you did all of the things to put smiles on the faces of your friends and family. Now, sit down and finally watch that series you’ve been meaning to. Finish that game you started in October and never had the chance to. And please, pretty please, watch that movie that has been on your watch list since last year. Give yourself the gift of relaxing and escaping, if only for a little while.

Though, I could leave that as a completely anecdotal example, did you know there is a benefit to going back and finishing something you started? The Indian Times has a very easy-to-understand explanation of the Zeigarnik effect. Basically, when we leave tasks undone (that game, that series, that list of movies) they tend to live rent-free in our minds. Considering the mental toll the holiday season can have on a person, having more trivial things that you can check off your mind’s to-do list can give you that mental boost you need to recharge and tackle more pressing matters in the coming year.

Dedicate some time to yourself

And when I say dedicate, I mean unless someone needs to go to the hospital, it is your time and your time alone. Whether it is reading a book for an hour, taking a walk/jog, listening to a new album, or whatever else you enjoy, make it yours. When discussing how to recover from the holiday season, this reset of going from almost 100% outwardly focused to making yourself the number one priority is so important. Get reacquainted with yourself in your quiet time so you can show the world who you are again.

Get comfortable saying “no” for at least January

You’ve flown enough, driven enough, talked and cooked enough. Unless you, in your heart of hearts, truly want to go out, just say no. Don’t go anywhere or do anything you don’t truly want to do until you’ve given yourself the time to recover (except work, keep going to that). As always, be honest. Tell them “hey, I’m just really drained right now, I’ll catch up with you another time” and keep it moving. Real ones will understand and anyone that doesn’t, well. . .you may need to reassess your relationship with them.

Recover from the Holiday Season

So, is this the be-all and end-all of how to recover from the holiday season? Not at all. I’m sure you have your own tips and tricks but I hope you learned a new one here today. Take care of yourself, give yourself the time you deserve to recover and be kind to yourself. Trust me, you deserve it.

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