Post Holiday Stress
How to de-stress when the reality sets in and January starts
After a seven day rest and break, I came into work grumpy and irritable. I reminded myself of my children trying to wake up for school. My post-holiday stress reality set in that it is all over. For many people the holidays are anticipated but then it wasn’t as great as we pictured. Moreover, it took more energy than last year to keep up with the hustle and bustle. Post holiday can be a stressful time; our energy sapped and some of our expectations not met. The simple act of relaxing can be an effective tool. But finding time and making it a part of your routine is key.
Your negative thoughts begin telling you to not relax, not take time, and don’t build the “me time” into your schedule. Except, your wise thoughts know this could be a small change leading to more wonderful moments to experience. The Relaxation Response technique taught at the Benson-Henry Institute is a short, multi-step process to slow things down. Their research showed the simple act of changing one’s thought patterns and meditating will allow you to: slow your brain waves, decrease your heart rate, improve metabolism, and regulate rate of breathing and blood pressure.
Here are some recommendations for de-stressing:
- Pick a focus word, short phrase, or prayer that is firmly rooted in your belief system, such as “one,” “peace,” “The Lord is my shepherd,” “Hail Mary full of grace,” or “shalom.”
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Relax your muscles, progressing from your feet to your calves, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, head, and neck.
- Breathe slowly and naturally, and as you do, say your focus word, sound, phrase, or prayer silently to yourself as you exhale.
- Assume a non-judgmental attitude. Don’t worry about how well you’re doing. When other thoughts come to mind, simply say to yourself, “Oh well,” and gently return to your repetition.
- Do not stand immediately. Continue sitting quietly, allowing other thoughts to return. Then open your eyes and sit before rising. Spend three minutes doing this.
- Practice the technique once or twice daily. Good times to do so are before breakfast and before dinner. Regular elicitation of the relaxation response has been scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for a wide range of stress-related disorders.
Contact New Directions now for a therapist whom can walk alongside of you and help build relaxation into your lifestyle. 724.934.3905