The start of a new year is overall an exciting time. We’ve just toasted to happy wishes and hopes for the coming year. Returning to post-holiday life; while it can be invigorating and motivational, filled with resolutions, changes, great intentions and much to look forward to in the coming year, it can also be filled with stressful changes. These can include returning to work, frustration from looking at our credit card statement, and possibly even gloominess from nostalgic memories or having to take down the Christmas decorations. Stress can come in multiple ways and post-holiday blues are very common results from having just spent the past month indulging, partying, running around and spending a bit too much. We know, we’ve been there too.
Getting back into the swing of things after taking time away from a routine can be hard. Whether it’s after returning home from seeing family, getting back to our healthy selves, or simply returning to the day to day work demands, our bodies and minds sometimes need a little support and nurturance with finding that balance again.
Limit Unhealthy Habits
Most likely, the past few weeks were filled with sugary sweets, decadent meals, tempting cocktails, holiday parties and events, late nights with others that led to inconsistent sleep (or possibly sleeping elsewhere) and with little time to just sit and relax. During the holidays, there just doesn't seem to be much ‘only me time’ - so much of what we do involves plans with our children, partners, parents, friends and family. As a result, several things tend to happen. Our digestive systems and sleep regimen may be off and irregular, and we will likely start feeling exhausted, under the weather, or run down.
Returning to or improving your personal healthy routine significantly helps the body to find its balance. This can easily be done through beginning or continuing with healthy habits such as incorporating a healthy diet or slight modifications, physical activity, and any healthy practices that are devoted to just you. Avoiding or limiting alcohol and sugars to detoxify the body is a great way to jumpstart your system. In addition, increasing those healthy greens and increasing the consumption of water and herbal teas significantly helps to flush out holiday toxins. Finally, turning the phones, tablets, music and TV off 30 minutes to an hour before sleep is another positive and very healthy way to induce a good quality sleep. Research shows that a healthy sleep schedule is vital for feeling refreshed, mentally alert, and for staying free of those seasonal colds and flus.
Quality Over Quantity
Often, we return back to the everyday work demands with much dread, stress, and anxiety around the ‘to do list’ that has been put on hold over the past few weeks. We now feel the necessity to begin or continue working extremely long hours to catch up, although overdoing it can take a huge toll on both our health and relationships. The reality is, it cannot and will not all get done today. Remind yourself that you’re human, and so prioritizing and accepting realistic goals are essential for trying to eliminate some of the pressure that we tend to carry around. Those emails and deadlines will still (unsurprisingly) be there tomorrow. But for today, the focus should be on what you can get done, and prioritizing which items or tasks are most important and should get done first. In addition, once the work day ends and we shift back into wife, mother, girlfriend, or friend mode, it is key that we allow the shift in focus and mindset to take place so that our home life is a clear, relaxing and pleasant distinction from work life. Trust us, your significant others will definitely thank you!
Mindfulness is a popular term these days, basically meaning to stay focused on the moment and your present thoughts, physical feelings and emotions, to slow it down and to try to be less hard on yourself. When we look backward to the past or forward to the future too much, we can get caught up in worry, sadness, unrealistic expectations, pressures and anxieties, and we lose focus on what’s going on around us right now. Reminding ourselves that yesterday is over, and tomorrow hasn't happened yet, isn't easy and definitely takes practice. Our imagination, and expectations about how something will go, rarely turns out the way we imagined. The truth is, thoughts are never reality. When we look at today and what we have going right in our life, it helps to put things into a positive perspective.
One tip is to write down 3 things every morning that you feel gratitude for and to put that paper in a jar or write it in a notebook. When we look at our lives and can recognize that there are parts to be grateful for, it helps to decrease feelings of stress, regain a positive outlook, and to turn those positive feelings and attitudes outward towards others. At the end of the year, or when feeling the need, get comfy with a nice cup of tea and take joy in re-reading some of those daily gratitudes. As you take a deep breath, relish in the many wonderful moments and things to feel grateful for. It will likely bring a nice smile to your face. :)