De-stressing After the Holidays
The holidays are just about over, so the celebrations, gala festivities, and merriment are coming to an end. No more sleeping well into the morning hours, eating a late breakfast or partying away into the night. No matter how hard we try to stretch those vacation days, an untimely end hits us in the face. Winding down is never easy.
Coming off your high and returning to the mundane affairs of real life is often difficult. For some, the return to the workplace is slow and painful, but routine eventually catches up and they find themselves back on track. For others, a deep feeling of "blues" sets in, which can sometimes be accompanied by loss of appetite, feelings of wistfulness and homesickness. It may be a mild depression or sense of anxiety, making work productivity suffer as social activities start to dissolve.
In general, most people don't need to resort to any special moves for bouncing back to their normal daily agenda. But there are many who cannot come off their holiday euphoria without disorientation. For those who find themselves stuck and unable to move on, psychologists have devised various methods for coping. Assuming you have had a positive holiday, here are some ideas for an easier return to life after vacation:
1. Slow Down and Relax:
The last day of the holiday vacation is usually the most difficult. We try to squeeze in as much as we can as the hours quickly tick by. Therapists believe we should do just the opposite. Pull back on the schedule with calming activities to help our bodies adjust and return to the normal habits we left behind.
2. Get Someone on the Inside:
Reduce the stress of returning to an office filled with piles of paperwork by contacting a coworker who might not have taken off for the holiday. She/he can fill you in on the important happenings during your absence and can identify the most urgent assignments prior to your return so you can get started right away.
3. Know Your Nostalgia:
If you've been traveling during the holidays, you may be one of those people who feel that focusing on memories of pleasant times can help you move back into daily life. Seeing photos and videos of the fun and excitement experienced during the holidays can lift spirits and provide a pleasant backdrop to feelings of nostalgia. For some people, though, reliving past events with their sensation of relaxation and enjoyment can trigger increased feelings of discomfort and anxiety, thus thwarting any efforts to deal with the here and now.
4. Just Breathe:
One of the best ways to decompress after an extended holiday is to engage in yoga and breathing techniques to help calm yourself and reach deep into your inner self. Proper breathing is something you should practice year-round, as physicians have found that most of us do not breathe properly.
Taking deep inhalations and long exhalations has been proven to encourage brain activity as well as stimulate effective blood circulation throughout our bodies. Focusing on deep breathing will help transition you from a state of exhilaration to a normal level of existence. Meditation is often used as an adjunct to deep breathing and has been proven to help reduce the stress of returning from a holiday.
5. A Moment in the Sun:
Anyone who flies often knows about the impacts of jet lag. Jet lag is caused by an interruption in your sleep-wake cycle, which is regulated by the body's internal clock. To cut down on this effect, doctors advise travelers to get out into the sun as soon as they can upon disembarking. When the UV radiation from the sun hits your eyes, it helps restore the sleep-wake cycle balance. Since similar symptoms can occur when coming down from a heightened experience to a normal state, even a short 15-minute walk in the sun can help you decompress from your extended holiday.
6. Start Moving:
Exercising or just moving around in a focused manner sends lots of endorphins rushing to your brain while using up the stress hormones that enable us to cope with mental and physical difficulties.
7. Planning Your Next Vacation:
Some therapists suggest that, to get over post-holiday blues, you should immediately start working on your next vacation. Others recommend avoiding this approach and instead encourage focusing on the present, not the future.
8. Talk it Out:
If you're still finding difficulty re-entering your pre-holiday existence, try having a heart-to-heart with a close friend or relative. They may be able to help you sort out your thoughts by acting as a sounding board or offering solutions you may not have considered.
Your Turn: How do you de-stress after the holidays? Share your best tips with us in the comments!
1. The Daily Telegraph, "Beat the Post Holiday Blues"