By Sister Sallie Latkovich
The “after holiday blues” is what many of us experience after the hustle and bustle of the holidays: the various celebrations with family and friends, time off of work, and the fun of it all. There is a time of withdrawal from all of that, as we resume something of a normal life and schedule. That transition may be accompanied by feelings of some sadness—the after holiday blues.
What can we do to beat the blues? I’d suggest following all of the good advice we hear on ever so many TV Commercials, promoting physical health. These same suggestions can promote inner and spiritual health as well.
What nourishes your soul? What might you be allergic to, that makes you “soul sick?”
My soul is nourished by good conversations with friends—not just a quick “Hi, how are you?” but a real sharing of hearts. I am also nourished by a good concert of an orchestra or a singer I enjoy. Then there are good movies. All of these “nourishers” are food for the soul, taken to heart. It is so important to eat good, nourishing food for the body; and it is equally important that our souls are well nourished.
Just as some of us have food allergies, there might be activities that make us “soul sick.” I find I am allergic to negativity and complaining, to violence that is provided for entertainment. Sometimes, the evening news is “soul-sickening.” Trying to avoid these activities can help keep my soul nourished.
What stretches your soul, and builds “spiritual muscle?”
Often, my soul is stretched by reading books and articles that are outside of my penchant for theology and spirituality. Thus, biographies of people who have accomplished great things, reflections on historical events, and accounts of organizations that serve various groups of people in need.
Even moreso, my soul is stretched by conversation, even with people with whom I do not agree. Sometimes the conclusion of those conversations is simply to agree to disagree.
What is truly restful for your soul?
Here we might hear the words of Jesus in the Gospel saying “Come to me all of you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” It is interesting to me that Jesus did not say: I’ll do your work, I’ll pay your bills, I’ll step in for you. His best promise is simply rest.
Perhaps that rest comes in “peace and quiet.” And, in that peace and quiet, we might be given to prayer—to remembering the presence of God in our lives. A gentle walk in a place of beauty is very restful.
I recently discovered that holding a baby who is sleeping is equally restful for the one holding the baby.
So, if you find yourself experiencing the after holiday blues, I hope that these simple suggestions will be a way for you to restore hope and goodness as we await the new life of springtime.
About the Author
After nine years at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Sister Sallie Latkovich was elected to and currently serves on the Leadership Team of the Congregation of St. Joseph.