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Decompression After the Holidays

Last updated: May 2022

The excitement, or dread, that surrounds the holiday season is hard to ignore. People are busy. Shops are open late. Lines are long. And sometimes people can get overwhelmed.

During the holidays, the energy can sometimes be draining. You may be excited, or sad, but at the end of it all, most people are so very tired. The old saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” is what springs to mind.

When big celebrations are over, I am rarely rejuvenated. Instead, I’m worn out and I have nothing left to give to my friends, family, or myself. This is when I find myself needing to decompress.

What is decompression?

Decompression means to relieve or reduce the pressure of something. To clarify, it means to calm down and relax. After a long day, you may hear a friend say, “I need to unwind before I go to bed.” What they mean is that they need to decompress.

You may already know of some ways you decompress after a long day at work or school, but what about after a long holiday? Is it any different? The stress of traveling, maybe seeing family you don’t get along with, or the excitement of the season can effect each person differently. When you return home you may need to practice some self-care, which can include decompression. But how do you decompress?

Holiday decompression tips

Decompressing can be an act of self-care, as stated earlier. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Below are tips that may help you decompress after the holiday season:1-9

  1. Deep breathing. Taking a moment to breathe deeply can help calm the body and the mind down. One way you can practice deep breathing is to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. A few benefits of deep breathing is it lowers your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces stress hormones in your body.
  2. Talk it out. Talking through your day or a stressful event can help you relax. When you talk with someone you trust it helps you sort through the problem, see the situation more clearly, and releases built up tension and stress.
  3. Exercise.
  4. Get outdoors. Being outside, even if just for a few minutes a day, can greatly impact your mood and help your body relax. Some of the benefits of getting outside include lowering your blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.
  5. Meditate. Meditation is the practice of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. You don’t have to be spiritual to meditate and you can meditate on any number of things. When you meditate you can reduce stress, lower anxiety, enhance self-awareness, and improve sleep.
  6. Take a day off. Being able to take a day off from work is a privilege that not everyone has. If you are able, it can help you mentally reset before getting back into the swing of things.
  7. Read. Reading doesn’t only offer an escape into a book, but it can provide health benefits, too. It can help you decompress. When you read a book it can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and helps get your body ready for sleep.
  8. Disconnect. It can be hard to disconnect from technology, but screen breaks can help you decompress. When you turn off your phone you can reduce your stress and improve your mental health. Additionally, it can help you feel more present in life and relax.
  9. Take a nap. Not too many people need to be convinced to take a nap, but did you know it can help you decompress after a long day? Napping can improve your memory, lift your mood, and ease stress.

Fill your cup

The holiday season can be both exciting and exhausting. When you return home, you might need a little bit of time to decompress. Taking time to take care of yourself benefits not only you, but those around you. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” may mean more as we get older. With that in mind, be sure to fill your cup when you get home. Remember that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s self-care.

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