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Monday, January 18, 2016

3 Ways to Relieve Post-Holiday Stress—How to Get Started

[Article originally posted on LinkedIn]

The post-holiday struggle is real.

If you’re anything like me, these first few days of January have been tough. Let’s face it, while great to catch up with family and friends, the holidays are exhausting and can take a major toll on personal well-being.

While everyone else is revising ambitious New Year’s resolutions, I am planning my after-holiday detox.

This detox is my mental, physical and spiritual practice that gets me back into equilibrium, back into work-mode and ready to conquer another year.

Perhaps this detox routine will help you, too, get back on form.

1. Consider your mental well-being

Sleep: For healthy brain function, emotional well-being and physical health, I make reassessing my sleep patterns my number one priority. During the holidays, sleep takes a major hit, but when I’m ready to regain my quality-of-life, quality sleep takes precedence.

Right now, I’m working on getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night (aided by a bit of Chamomile tea) so that I can maintain focus throughout the day, workout more energetically and delay decision fatigue as much as possible.

Massage: Considered a luxury to some, I use massage to relieve stress and anxiety. My stress has a tendency to manifest physically (lower back pain). Massage is a way to recognize when my muscles are holding on to unhealthy muscle memory and to release it. When done on a regular basis, I become more conscious of my body and its optimal state.

I find that monthly therapeutic massage work leaves me feeling lighter on my feet and resting easier at night. My detox involves working regular massage (and my yoga practice) back into my schedule.

Digital detox: No explanation needed. Just. Put. Down. The. Phone. and logout of email sometimes. Even if that means penciling “unplug” into my weekly schedule.

A good tip is to put the phone on “airplane mode” particularly if you sleep with it on the night stand next to you. I find that turning the signal completely off (not just on silent) really helps to facilitate uninterrupted sleep.

2. Consider your physical well-being

Nutrition: Reevaluating my nutrition plan is another top priority after the holiday season. I find that reducing my sugar, processed carb and alcohol intake while increasing my water and green vegetable intake allows me mental clarity, focus and concentration, and increases my energy levels. 

A good tip here is to meal plan, or cook weekly meals on a set day(s) and pack food into portable containers to help reprogram your nutritional routine. This reduces the number of spur-of-the-moment decisions made about food, making healthier choices much more likely.

Exercise: For me, working out in the gym is ideal because it allows me to “zone out” and focus on my breathing, posture and endurance. It becomes a meditation for me (more on that below).
A good tip here is to incorporate both cardio and weights into your training. I use cardio to strengthen my mental control over my physical endurance. I use strength training to help me maintain a powerful and confident presence and state-of-being.

3. Consider your spiritual well-being

Meditation: It’s no exaggeration that we are all in a state of information overload. An influx of external stimuli competes for our attention daily. This can affect our internal monologue (or self-talk) and make it difficult to focus our thoughts constructively and perform optimally.

I find taking time to be still in silence by reducing my external stimuli the best way to regain control over my thoughts and to focus my mind for peak performance. I use my meditation time to set an intention for the day, task or life-season. For me this brings clarity of purpose and direction, even if perceived on a subconscious level.

Reflection and gratitude: Relatively ambitious, I often find myself moving from goal to goal without much acknowledgement of the true girth of the accomplishment. I rarely take the time to celebrate an achievement before moving on to the next ambitious task. I think this is a mistake that many of us make—an unending quest for greater, without being fully conscious of what is presently great and what it took to get there.

I am working on celebrating life and accomplishment with more intention and humility. I will do this by being more aware, reflective and openly grateful for the work that I am doing, the vision and drive that it takes, and the divinely-bestowed ability to bring those together to form a personal standard of happiness and success.

I invite you to join me on this detox!

What say you?

Do you detox after an exhausting holiday season? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts! Looking forward to hearing your voice on this one. Comment below!

If you found this interesting, you may also like:
  1. Is the Holiday Party Worth It?
  2. A Powerful Connection to Your Brand through Gratitude
  3. A Moral Obligation to Respond to Tragedy on Facebook?
  4. What to do When a Social Media Influencer Wreaks Havoc on Your Brand

Kelliann McDonald is a Business Strategist, specializing in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has 8+ years of corporate experience, recently completed her MBA in London and is back in the United States creating synergy for Federal clients in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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