recovering from holiday stress

Holidays can be joyful but also trying depending on the situation. Whether you’re missing a loved one, experiencing personal struggles or involved in complicated family situations, detoxing after a few days of emotional stress is important. Here are a few reminders for those coming off a difficult holiday.

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  1. It’s okay not to be okay

    Feeling guilty about your feelings doesn’t make the situation any better. If you’re struggling, the first step is to admit it to yourself and anyone close enough to help support you during the situation. It’s a beautiful thing to have people to lean on when you’re not feeling your best, but they can’t help if they don’t know what’s going on. Being honest with yourself and your people is crucial.

  2. Feel your feelings

    Downplaying emotions does not make them go away. It can be really tempting to just avoid the situation all together. Watching endless amounts of TV, overeating, shopping, video games, etc. are all ways that we distract from the things that we don’t want to deal with. Try sitting with your feelings for a short period of time. Find where in your body you’re feeling the emotions. Talk/write/cry it out if you need to. Lean in and let whatever comes come. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a lot faster to feel and process emotions than let them stew under the surface for who knows how long.

  3. Find healthy self-soothing rituals

    On the topic of distractions, it is helpful to find things that are soothing that aren’t unhealthy and don’t impede on the healing process. Self-soothing while leaving room for emotions to be there is key. Some ideas of what you can do to self-sooth in a healthy way: make a cup of tea, read a book, take a bath, sit in quiet for a few minutes, find ways to be active, or do something that makes you feel good – holiday decorating, baking, cleaning, or playing with kiddos/pets are all good options.

  4. When it’s time, process and move on

    There’s a fine line between avoiding feelings and rushing them out the door. You’ll want to sit with your feelings as long as they need, but you don’t want to hold onto them. Seek clarity around your situation and see where you can forgive yourself or others when you’re ready. The situation may be on going, but you can let go of the situation in the moment. Focus on moving forward and finding joy in the moment. Gratitude and anxiety can’t coexist so looking for the good moves you in a positive direction.

I sincerely hope this isn’t something that you are dealing with. Holidays should be full of joy, rest and love. There’s so much to be grateful for and I hope that even in the struggles you can see the good and move closer towards it every day. Just remember, you may not have control over the situation, but you have control over your response to it.