How to stay happy after the holiday season

How to hold onto the holiday spirit all year
How to hold onto the holiday spirit all year 05:28

It can be hard to keep the spirit of the holiday season going after the new year begins. To stay joyful when the holidays are over, Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of "The Happiness Project" and other books on ways to improve your life, offers a few creative suggestions.

Celebrate minor holidays

Research shows having family traditions binds families together, Rubin said. "They allow them to spend more time together. They enjoy it more, they find it more interesting. It allows us to mark the passage of time. We can show people, 'You're one of us now because you're going to join in this tradition,' whether it's something like doing a giant puzzle or having a special meal," she said.

So to keep that bond strong, Rubin recommends starting new traditions throughout the year.

"Like the first day of spring, or Groundhog Day, or this year, you know, we have Leap Day," she said. "What are you going to do on Leap Day? It'd be fun to get that going. Figure out, what are we going to do? And then we can do it from now on," she said. 

Rubin added that these new celebrations don't have to be as big as the major holidays.

"You can look at any of these opportunities where you think, what's kind of an open space in our calendar, and how do we make it easy? I like to use food dye, like dye something green, dye something pink, to make it feel like it's special," she said.

Make a photo book

"Looking at photographs, reminding ourselves of happy times in the past, is one of the best ways to make ourselves happy now," Rubin said. 

Making a photo album with photos from the holiday can be an easy way to spread happiness, and because they can be made digitally, Rubin recommends making multiple copies. 

"Then you can give that, and nothing makes us happier than giving a precious gift, and those photographs — they're irreplaceable. If you're the one that took the holiday pictures, that's a wonderful gift."