The holiday season that you just completed—in whatever ways you and your community celebrated—can be rather fraught, right? Family, friends, gifts, rituals, proximity, distance, introverts, extroverts, messy people, neat freaks, old stories, new complexities… it’s often, well, a lot. And if you’re reading this particular post on this particular website, you’re no doubt someone who did your part to try to make the season a beautiful one.

Now, back in “ordinary time,” back at work, at home, at school, you may be feeling just how much life force you expended in the process. It’s time now, as you settle back into your relatively, blessedly comforting routines, for some smart strategies to truly regain your energy while prepping to make the most of all the natural motivation that the New Year brings.

So check out these four simple strategies for re-grouping energetically toward a strong start to 2018:

1. Build in some moments of down time. Yep, a mini-vacation from your vacation. Really. Do it. Maybe we “over-did” during the holidays — not so much because this one and that one needed and expected and deserved this or that or because we needed and expected and deserved it all — but rather because we’re just accustomed to doing too much. So, now take some time to truly chill when possible, no next-thing-queued-up 24 and 7. Just rest. Take a nap, or a few. Go to bed early. Sleep late. Zone out. Walk. Think. Doodle. Daydream. Seriously. Create moments to get yourself set for the busy times that are either here or around the corner!

2. Cook and eat healthy, satisfying meals, for self-care, for pleasure, for fun. Return to your favorite food rituals, or create some new ones. Hanging out in the kitchen, concocting deliciousness, is part of the good stuff of our beautiful, daily lives. Or substitute your particular version of this strategy: hit up your favorite neighborhood take-out joint or the local café you haven’t had time for. Reconnect in no-fuss ways with folks you enjoy, sipping, supping and relishing simple catch-up conversations as real-life antidotes to all the holiday busy-ness. Nourish yourself and your loved ones in ways that make you happy, while consciously keeping it healthy. The New Year is the perfect opportunity to re-commit to this and other health-centric goals. (For instance, before or after that actual nap, take an actual walk! It’s great thinking time.)

3. While relaxing and nourishing yourself, daydream about the beautiful year you want to have. Imagine it vividly. Current dreams and goals act as natural antidotes, too, to the powerful collective memories that fuel holiday experiences in ways you may still be processing, or even reeling from. Consciously, gratefully, enjoyably shift your focus to the year ahead. It’s a more rigorous discipline than you might initially imagine, with benefits like peace of mind and the renewed energy that comes with it. By focusing squarely on 2018, you’ll have less life force tied up in ruminating on recent holiday experiences or judging them as good or bad, as measuring up—or not—to the perhaps complex past or an idealized future. Whew! It’s a load off.

4. In inevitable moments of nostalgia and even perhaps painful reminiscence, remember that no one, and no situation, has the power to make you feel bad, about yourself or just in general, unless you allow it. The power is yours. Meditate on this killer secret knowledge. It’s the good stuff, too. Feel its effects in your body, a firm upward tug on your bootstraps, lightness about your head and shoulders. Stay very conscious of your power to make 2018 what you want it to be. And take the time to share with lucky others your resulting constructive thoughts, good feelings, and begin-the-year vibrancy.

And enjoy! 2018 has arrived, with all its big and small pleasures, tasks, visions, plans, challenges, questions, schemes and dreams. All that richness is the good stuff, too, life occurring on the wild, wonderful journey. Ahhhh. Beautiful.

Photo Credit: Eli Defaria,