Post-Holiday Stress

Posted by Leanne Wagner on Jan 21, 2011  >  No Comments

Now that the holiday season is officially over, we are all transitioning back into our daily routines. For many of us, this is not a simple task. In fact, following the whirlwind of holiday celebrations, we are often overloaded with playing catch up at work, tearing down holiday decorations, preparing the children for a new school term, maintaining New Year’s resolutions and anticipating incoming credit card bills. Post-holiday stress can have serious implications to our overall mental health and wellbeing. Specifically, stress can manifest itself in many different ways such as loss of sleep, fatigue, lack of energy, inconsistent or unhealthy eating patterns, irritability, and difficulty focusing. Stress has also been linked to more serious health problems such as a lowered immune system, digestive issues, heart disease and Alzheimer’s (Health Canada, 2007)

As a result, implementing healthy coping techniques becomes increasingly important. The first step in managing stress involves recognizing its symptoms and identifying triggers. For instance, a link between financial stress and difficulty sleeping may be determined if you often find yourself lying awake all night budgeting for upcoming bills. The trigger here is financial pressure and the symptom is disrupted sleep patterns. Once you have recognized and identified symptoms and triggers, the next step is to explore possible solutions. It may help to set aside an hour of time to make a list of all the realistic and available short term and long term solutions to each source of stress. The trick is to focus only on what you can control. Although it is unlikely you will come up with a solution to eliminate stress altogether, it is more about finding methods that will help reduce the pressure. Sometimes just creating a plan can decrease stress.

When recognizing, identifying and planning feels overwhelming, it always helps to talk it out. Speak to your partner, family, friends or mental health professional. Sometimes just having the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings is enough to relieve some stress. Additionally, it never hurts to explore the issues from a new and fresh perspective.
Lastly, it is incredibly important to remember and practice self care. In other words, set aside regular time to do something fun, relaxing or exciting. Whether you are interested in art, music, physical exercise, cooking, socializing or reading, choosing to partake in activities you find enjoyable will allow you the opportunity to blow off steam, take a break from worry and re-energize. Remember, your own mental and physical health is just as important as the responsibilities and obligations of everyday life.

Mental Health – Coping With Stress

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