Tips to Relax & Unwind Body, Mind and Soul During The Holidays and Thereafter
Why do we often feel tired, pressured and even exhausted after a wonderful holiday? You simply don’t have the energy to go back to work and you don’t even want to start thinking about the next 12 months! A lot of people feel like you do – it is the holiday blues, a general and well-known phenomenon. You can do something to prevent this!
We have unreasonably high expectations of our holidays, especially the year end ones! They have to fulfill a years’ worth of neglecting our work-life balance and be the total rebalance, rejuvenation, rest and recovery period of the year! Symbolically this is the end of the year and time for relaxation and to enjoy simple pleasures, to have renewed will power and energy to take on the New Year. Why do we often feel tired, pressured and even exhausted after a wonderful holiday? You simply don’t have the energy to go back to work and you don’t even want to start thinking about the next 12 months! A lot of people feel like you do – it is the holiday blues, a general and well-known phenomenon.
In my experience there are more requests for stress management workshops between January and March than any other months of the year. Stress induced symptoms such as high blood pressure, eczema, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and insomnia also increase during January and February. There are various stress factors that can contribute to these symptoms: the holiday that you’ve been looking forward to for so long didn’t meet your expectations, all your accounts still need to be paid, old family problems reared its ugly heads again, and at work all your administrative duties including hundreds of e-mails greet you at the office, and your freedom gets restricted again while your co-worker’s irritations are showing up as the mirror reflections of your suppressed and denied issues.
Holidays and a new year mean change! Any change – good or bad – creates or causes, distress. The last week before your holiday is always a big blur trying to do and organise everything.
Stress less tips for the holidays
- Try to eat healthy on your holiday, lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fresh water and herbal teas (steep fresh grated ginger root, chamomile, rooibos, hibiscus flowers in boiling water, let it cool down, add honey or sweetener, mint leaves, fresh cherries or strawberries, lemon slices and lots of ice) to drink. Most people stop taking their supplements during the holidays. Remember to take supplements like vitamin-B complex (for the nervous system), antioxidants to neutralise the holiday damage, Gingko biloba (for concentration), valerian en chamomile tea (to help calm you down), milk thistle (for detoxification and to help the liver rejuvenate) and calcium, magnesium and essential fatty acids (for everything else!).
- Make a commitment to stick to your exercise program adapted to the holidays: try more yoga, swimming, dancing or walking.
- Give yourself some time for introspection and being alone, to enjoy and experience all that is happening in your day. Keep a dream diary next to your bed (over the holiday period and when you are back at work).
- Treat yourself to a lovely bath (choose aromatherapy oils such as lavender, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, chamomile and neroli) or deep tissue massage.
- Care for yourself with a good UV-protection moisturiser or tanning lotion applied to a smooth, well scrubbed body, deep facial cleanses and facial masks made of finely chopped cucumber, yogurt and lemon juice.
- Read, write, dream and release your imagination and intuition
- A short relaxation exercise to try to allow you to become calm inside, and turn your attention away from outside things, people and situations that upset you:
* Sit quietly in a chair, feet on the floor, arms & hands relaxed
* Tense the muscles in your feet. Then relax them. Do the same with your lower legs, then upper legs, then buttocks, tummy, chest, hands, neck, head & face
* Take your attention to your breathing. Make it deep and slow. Count to 4 or 5 as you breathe in. Hold your breath for 2 to 3 counts. Then sigh your breath out while you count for 5, 6 or 7. Carry on doing this for 2 to 3 minutes
* If your head becomes filled with thoughts, simply let the thoughts flow by like clouds in the sky, and keep on bringing your attention back to your breathing
* After 2, 3 or even 5 to10 minutes, become aware of your body, slowly open your eyes and carry on with your day as usual, BUT you’ll feel more calm and relaxed than before you did the exercise. Try to do this in the morning & evening, and whenever you feel upset, tired or stressed
- Alone time, especially in nature, give your some time out and a chance to focus on your soul centre and experience the here and now (the present moment) and to appreciate it. Take these moments to set your values, beliefs, goals and priorities and find out what is important to you.
- If your family (including the children) start to mistreat you, it is time to explain to them gently yet assertively what your view on the specific issue is. Start creating a chore schedule where everybody is responsible for certain duties/tasks (making coffee in the morning, washing the dishes etc.).
This will ensure a happy time of connecting with yourself, close and extended family, and friends.
Be realistic: use the holidays to be yourself. Enjoy everyday as it comes without expectations. Relax!
Wellness tips during and after the holidays
- Empty your inner thoughts and feelings in your journal – dreams, emotions, joys and sadness
- Envision and feel your dreams and daydreams – it is the symbols from within your soul.
- Spend time thinking about 2016. Set your goals: short, medium and long term.
- Enjoy ‘me’ time every day – we are human-beings and not human-doings
- Enjoy eating healthy foods, exercise regularly, use the right herbs and supplements
- Create special time for stress management and relaxation therapies
Suggestions for cravings:
- Uncontrollable urges for sweet things can imply deficiencies of chromium, vanadium and molibdenum – use as part of a daily antioxidant. Low fat choices for intense constant urges for sweet things are: fruit, rice-cakes with a carob layer, low-fat yogurt, jelly-babies (only 6!), and dried fruit.
- An urge for something, but you just can’t say what, may indicate a need for water – drink a full glass (remember, your need 8 glasses of water a day for optimum health). An intense constant urge for chocolate, can indicate a magnesium deficiency.