Got Post Holiday Stress? Here's How to Relax

Got Post Holiday Stress? Here's How to Relax

They say all good things must come to an end, and the holidays are no exception. For some people, the period after the holidays can leave them feeling down. For others, it's tough to get back into the swing of ordinary routines and schedules. If you're having trouble adjusting, here are some holiday stress management tips to help.

image of a woman wearing a santa hat and being stressed out.

What Are the After-Holiday Blues?

You’ll often hear tips for getting a handle on stress during the holidays, but it’s a little more difficult to find advice for beating the blues that sometimes come after the parties are over and the decorations have been put away.

However, psychologists say it’s quite normal for people to experience a slump in their mood after the holidays. According to Psychology Today, there are a few different reasons why people sometimes feel sad when the holidays end.

  • Return to Routine - Between work gatherings, family get-togethers and social activities, December can be a busy month. Parties and celebrations typically make people happy. When the bustling holiday season ends, it can feel like an abrupt return to routine, which can lead to a slump in your emotions.

  • Interactions with Family Members - For some people, the holidays mean traveling and reuniting with family members who might live far away or only return home for the season. For others, family gatherings over the holidays means spending time with relatives you might prefer to avoid. Either way, interactions with family over the holidays can stir up strong emotions.  

  • Dredging Up Unpleasant Memories - Many people go out of their way to spend time with friends and loved ones over the holidays. If an important person is no longer part of your life, the holidays can be an unpleasant reminder of happier times in the past.

  • Winter Weather - Depending on where you live, January can be a cold, dark month. The days are short, which means less daylight. According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs when the seasons change to colder weather. For some people, SAD is bad enough to require treatment and sometimes even medication.

  • Fatigue - Shopping, decorating and attending gatherings can be fun, but these activities can also make you exhausted. For some people, it can take weeks to fully recover your energy after the holidays.  

  • Crashing Your Diet - December can do a number on your diet. It takes a lot of willpower to avoid the cakes, cookies and special treats. A month of overindulgence can make the numbers on the scale creep up — and your mood slump down.  

  • Disappointment - When we look forward to a big event, it’s normal to set high expectations for it in our minds. Sometimes, however, the reality doesn’t quite measure up. If your holidays weren’t as special as you hoped they would be, disappointment can leave you feeling depressed.

Whatever your reasons for feeling blue after the holidays, the good news is there are plenty of ways to ease your stress and start looking forward to spring.    

15 Tips for Post-Holiday Stress Management

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, they don’t always live up to the song lyrics. If your holidays have left you dragging, here are 15 post-holiday stress management tips to consider.

1. Get Outside and Away From Holiday Stress

Although the weather might be cold and snowy, braving the great outdoors can do wonders for your mental health. A brisk winter hike on a sunny day can get your blood flowing and boost your mood.

Psychologists at Iowa State University found that walking for just 12 minutes can improve your mood. If the weather is too cold or icy to go outside, the same study showed that people who walked on a treadmill also experienced the mood-lifting benefits of walking.

2. Get Back Into Your Routine

The holidays can force you out of your routine in a big way. Although it can sometimes be good to switch up your schedule a bit, most people thrive when they stick to a pattern.

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine say that daily routines can help lower stress, improve sleep and boost your health.

3. Take a Tech Break

Over the holidays, it’s normal for people to share photos of gatherings and celebrations on social media. A constant barrage of happy posts and polished selfies can leave you feeling lonely and inadequate. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social media can make anxiety symptoms worse.

If you’re already prone to anxiety, the ADAA says that social media can also lead to other problems. “Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. In fact, testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness.”

If you feel your emotions taking a downward turn after the holidays, it may be because you’ve overindulged in social media — not turkey. To help manage your post-holiday stress, it might be helpful to take a short break from social media. Some people even plan a total break from social media every December.

4. Don’t Neglect Self Care

Many people spend their holidays doing nice things for others. While this is a great gesture, it can sometimes mean putting your own needs on a back burner. Once you’ve unwrapped all the gifts and eaten all the cookies, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs. Here are 6 tips for self-care to get you started.

5. Try Something New

The New Year is a perfect time to try a new hobby, take a class or start a project you’ve been putting on hold. With shorter days and long, cold nights, January is a great opportunity to spend time doing something you love — or would like to learn.

6. Reevaluate Your Diet

Many people make better nutrition part of their New Year’s resolutions. However, you don’t have to make drastic changes to see results. Even something as simple as cutting back on sugar can make you look younger, feel happier and shed pounds.

According to research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eliminating sugar from your diet can also make you less likely to catch colds — a perk we could all use during the winter.

7. Book a Massage

The holidays are about giving to others. Once they’re over, it’s perfectly okay to give yourself a present or too. If you’re stressed, a massage can be a great way to ease sore muscles and restore your energy levels.

Not only does massage feel great, it can be good for your health. The American Massage Therapy Association says massage offers a number of benefits, including stress relief, better sleep, reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure.

8. Ask for Help

If you take a break from work to celebrate the holidays, you might return to an overflowing email inbox. For some people, going back to the office after vacation can be a significant source of stress.

While most people are able to catch back up, too much post-holiday stress can have a serious impact on your health, and chronic stress can even lead to heart problems. If you’re overwhelmed by work-related tasks after the holidays, don’t be afraid to ask for help, or even for additional time to complete a project.

9. Pay Attention to Your Spending Habits

For a lot of people, the holidays create financial strain. In 2017, Americans spent over $717 billion on holiday purchases. If the holidays caused your bank account to take a hit, January is a good time to be more frugal.

Fortunately, it’s possible to cut costs without significantly changing your lifestyle. Even small changes like packing your lunch and eliminating cable can save you hundreds of dollars each month. Experts recommend totaling up all of your monthly expenses and then creating a budget to help you manage your finances.

10. Make Holiday Travel Less Stressful

If you’re one of the 107.3 million Americans who travel for the holidays each year, you might be stressed out after the season wraps up. Traveling can be a source of stress for many people. From cramped car rides to long lines at the airport, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

While you can’t force airlines to give you more leg room, and you probably can’t make the road trip to grandma’s shorter, you can make the journey more comfortable. Research shows that weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety.

Want to learn more? Check out: The Science Behind Weighted Blankets: Why (and How) They Work.

At SensaCalm, our Calm-to-Go weighted blanket is perfect for people who feel stressed or anxious when they travel. It measures 34 inches by 50 inches and rolls up with dual buckles and a carrying handle for easy transport. The Calm-to-Go comes in several color options, and you can add optional cuddle fabric for extra sensory input and comfort.  

11. Reflect on the Good Times

If you’re feeling down because you miss the gatherings and reunions you enjoyed over the holidays, why not take some time to cherish the memories? You can put together photo albums of favorite moments, or create online albums to share with friends and family members.

12. Plan Your Summer Vacation

One of the best ways to beat the post-holiday blues is to start looking forward to sunny skies and time away from the daily grind. Start researching places you might like to visit, and then come up with a budget to help you save for your trip.

13. Increase Your Water Intake

Although the holidays tend to involve a lot of eating and drinking, you might neglect your hydration more than you realize. Between shopping and decorating, it’s easy to forget about getting the water your body needs.

According to Harvard Health, water plays a critical role in maintaining good health, from normalizing blood pressure and aiding digestion to regulating body temperature and flushing out bad bacteria from your system.

14. Declutter

Who says you have to wait until spring to do a spring cleaning? In fact, the winter months can be a great time to declutter. Cleaning up over the winter can help take your mind off the post-holiday blues, and doing a deep clean can also get rid of germs that can make you sick when you’re stuck inside during cold weather.

15. Get Better Sleep

Holiday parties and gatherings can be fun, but they can also take a toll on your sleep patterns. If you’re struggling with insomnia or a disrupted sleep schedule, a weighted blanket may help you get back on track.

As a bonus, weighted blankets have also been shown to reduce anxiety and help with stress. In one study, 63 percent of people who used a weighted blanket reported less anxiety, and 78 percent preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality.

Weighted blankets are made with about 10 percent of a person’s body weight. This weight is a type of therapy known as deep pressure touch stimulation, which provides firm but gentle pressure on the body.          

Reduce Your Stress with a SensaCalm Weighted Blanket  

Everyone deserves the gift of great sleep. A weighted blanket may help you sleep better and feel less stressed. Order your custom weighted blanket today, or choose from our wide selection of ready-to-ship finished weighted blankets. Traveling? Try our Calm-to-Go weighted blanket on your next trip.    

If you have questions about what size or weight to order, don’t hesitate to contact us. Give us a call at 855-736-7222 or use our contact form to get in touch with one of our helpful team members.     

Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.

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