After the flurry of holiday festivities, many of us find ourselves feeling a bit ungrounded and out of sync.
We may feel too exhausted to tackle our responsibilities, we might struggle to find time for movement, or we might be eating more sugar than we’re used to.
It’s important to give ourselves grace and compassion for stepping away from our wellness routine for a week or two; there’s no need to punish ourselves or get too discouraged.
At the same time, Sarah Presson, LICSW and Clinical Supervisor with HBH says that it’s important for us to listen to what our bodies and minds are telling us.
“If we’re feeling tired and exhausted after the holidays, it’s likely a good idea to take some time and allow ourselves to catch up on rest, that way we can be intentional with how we direct our energy moving forward,” says Sarah.
In fact, the greatest gift that we can give ourselves and those we care about, all year long, is to be intentional about how we spend our time and energy.
By bringing awareness and curious attention to our daily habits and routines, we can clarify the behaviors and thought patterns that no longer serve us, and replace them with practices that align with our highest good.
We’ve asked three of our clinicians and clinical supervisors to share their post-holiday wellness practice tips that we can implement in our daily lives.
1) Develop or restart a daily exercise routine
Greg Handel, PhD and clinical supervisor with HBH recommends creating or restarting a daily exercise routine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.”
Greg explains why exercise is a vital ingredient in our wellness routine:
- Exercise pumps your endorphins: This is often referred to as a runner’s high, but any aerobic activity, such as a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike, can contribute to this same feeling.
- Exercise reduces the negative effects of stress. It helps your body and its systems practice working together to address the effects of stress.
- Moving your body is meditation in motion. Focusing your attention on your work-out or a strenuous game of racquetball for example may help you concentrate only on your body’s movements and forget the current irritations you’re experiencing.
- Being active improves your mood by increasing your self-confidence, helping you to relax, improving your sleep, and lowering your symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
2) Develop a regular sleep routine
Sleep has a tremendous impact on both our physical and mental health.
Greg Handel, PhD recommends setting a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time. Allow yourself to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily.
Sleep will also give you the energy and cognitive strength to deal with the stressors that you are presently experiencing.
3. Give yourself the gift of reflection
For many of us, the time around New Year’s is filled with parties and gatherings with friends and family. But the new year can be an opportune time to seek alone time and turn inwards.
Kelly Corrao-Fisher, LMHC recommends starting the new year with time for reflection over the past year and focusing on what went well as opposed to what didn’t go well.
You might find time in a quiet place for writing down the things that you’re grateful for, as well as acknowledging grief and disappointment from the past year.
Self reflections help us to stay grounded in our thoughts and attitudes, inspiring us to take intentional steps toward improving our wellbeing.
4. Keep the joy of the holiday season alive
Many of us correlate the holiday season with a stronger sense of purpose, greater happiness, and emotional closeness. What if we kept this spirit of gratitude alive after the holidays came to an end?
Kelly Corrao-Fisher says that for those of us who are not ready to give up the joy of the holiday season; no one says you have to!
Find out what makes the holiday season special to you. If watching Christmas movies, listening to festive music, or baking for loved ones brought you joy over the holidays, there’s no reason to give up these pleasures.
We all deserve to bring feelings of joy with us through the year.
5. Spend time outside
Sarah Presson, LICSW recommends getting outside and giving ourselves the gift of fresh-air and sunshine.
“Nature offers us a change of scenery, and a fresh perspective, but it also calms your mind, increases feelings of happiness, alleviates tension, and decreases blood pressure,” says Sarah.
You might take a walk around your neighborhood, visit a nearby city, or spend time in your local park.
Now that the holidays are over, you might feel sluggish and tired from all the social gatherings, or heavy and bloated from the decadent holiday treats. You may even feel emotionally drained or anxious about getting yourself back into your regular routines.
The good news is that you are capable of bringing balance and joy into your life all year long.
With honest awareness of the behaviors and thought patterns that no longer serve you, you can replace them with practices that leave you feeling empowered.
You might decide to implement some of the practices offered by our clinicians into your daily routine, or you might decide to come up with your own.
If you’re looking for support on your wellness journey, our trained therapists and counselors are here to help!
To start working with one of our therapists in our offices in Franklin, Amherst, West Springfield, Wilbraham, Natick, or online throughout the state of Massachusetts, contact us today at (413) 343-4357.