How to feel rested after the holidays, according to a psychologist

‘It’s PTO season, but even so, relaxation may not be on your radar. Feeling rested after the holidays can even seem like a pipe dream. Maybe you have young children, some holiday organizing on your notebook or a boss who doesn’t really ignore the clock. If you’re lucky enough to have a few “real” holidays coming up, you may already feel pressured about how to make the most of them, which can become a trigger in itself. stress.

Here’s how Elisabeth Morray, PsyD, a practicing psychologist in Natick, MA, recommends making sure that those notoriously foggy days between mid-December and January 2 really help you feel recovered. — even if you have a lot of other things going on.

“You can take the opportunity to reexamine your beliefs and really define what you want to do to make the holiday affordable and rejuvenating,”—Elisabeth Morray, PsyD, practicing psychologist at Natick, MA

5 tips to feel more comfortable after the holidays

If you’re carrying a lot of mental burden over the holidays, it can be hard to reframe your thinking. But Dr. Moray recommends doing it. Here are her five tips for matching the self-care you deserve over the next few weeks.

1. Rethink your tradition

When it comes to choosing how to spend our holiday time, Dr. Morray points out that most of us are on autopilot. We do what we’ve always done, and we don’t create much resistance—even when all that stuff (and people) drains our energy.

“I think a lot of people realize that over the course of their lives they’ve developed all sorts of rules about what has to happen during the holidays and that they can instead take the opportunity to see Review those beliefs and really determine what Dr. Morray says.

A better approach to the holiday season might start with asking yourself some questions. “The first step is to begin to understand why you make choices during the holidays and to begin to discern whether you are making your choices out of obligation or because you find meaning or joy. in how you use your time and energy. ,” explains Dr. Morray, adding that if you want to skip even one grueling gathering for a performance or holiday concert, you should allow yourself to do so.

2. Make space for fun

If you’re hosting family or friends, or if you’re playing Santa for a child or two, even the best holiday plans can leave you feeling little respite. more and… more headache. Parents, in particular, never really take a day off from obligations and responsibilities.

There is no quick fix to reduce the time spent organizing and ho-ho-ho-ing. But if we take the time to cultivate an atmosphere of joy and wonder, we can also be sure that we will enjoy it. That means being purposeful and taking on what’s going on during the holiday season, rather than getting caught up in task after task.

“Instead of feeling like you have to do all the things you’ve been told you should and all the experiences you’ve been told you should give your child, really allow yourself to be present with your child. and with yourself in a way that you may not be entirely able to when you are rushing through your daily work life,” says Dr. Morray.

In other words, let yourself enjoy the moment your child opens a gift you’ve always wanted, or simply dust off a board game you never played together. You don’t have to be a passive observer of people’s happiness; you should know that you can also have some fun.

And if you Okay parenting a child in the cheerful and bright season? Spend it being the parent you wish you had or the parent you’ve always wanted to be. That doesn’t mean spending the most or having the most fun. Sometimes it just means focusing on connectivity and quality time.

Maybe you don’t have a holiday in December, or maybe you don’t have any to use at the end of the year. Even so, here’s a trick you can use. As the year goes by, thinking about the parent or person you want to be as well as the family experience you want to have can help prepare you for a better year ahead.

3. Schedule time alone

If your holiday schedule seems completely packed with everyone else, your social battery is likely to be as low on January 2 as it is on December 20. If you’re looking to really recharge. Re-energized during breaks, consider scheduling time for meditation and mindfulness practice, during your days off. This could mean engaging in a meditation exercise, doing a visualization activity, or simply sitting quietly alone for a set amount of time each day.

Scheduling meditation can really maximize the long-term benefits of having time to rest, long after your vacation is over. A small observational study published in PLoS shows that people who meditated on their leave experienced lower levels of fatigue and higher levels of happiness ten weeks after returning to their normal work schedules.

4. Don’t waste your energy trying to maximize time

Sometimes, the pressure to make the most of the holidays (or holidays in general) is enough to sabotage your ability to relax. Even if you know you can’t force your vacation to live up to your expectations, the fear of wasting your vacation can be an unwelcome and persistent holiday guest.

Things you didn’t plan for will appear and chances are, some of your precious moments will be occupied by random errands, house maintenance, or other things that aren’t really enjoyable. Dr. Morray points out that you can start to obsess over the moments you’re missing — and this stubbornness just makes time go by even faster.

Dr. Morray says, fight your FOVBO (fear of the holiday ending) by recognizing it. But choose not to let it sweep or imprison it. Let the thought come to you and acknowledge that you are having it. Then let it float away like a bunch of tinfoil. “The only reason we let those thoughts bother us is because they remind us of something we care about. Instead of fighting against unpleasant thoughts, we can use it to remind ourselves that this holiday is truly precious.”

5. Focus on the future

There’s a reason so many classic holiday movies replay the idea of ​​a frustrated or disgruntled future self. The holidays and the new year can raise concerns about whether we are truly living our lives to the fullest and realizing the special things in our lives. Believe it or not, this anxiety can be redirected into a tool to help us recharge.

Dr. Morray says she advises her clients to adopt a perspective they imagine their future selves will appreciate. This can allow them to see their own needs more clearly. When it comes to holiday rejuvenation, this method can help you determine what you really want during your holiday. “Do you want to look at yourself doing things that drain you and drain you, or do you want to look at yourself doing things that allow you to slow down and be more present?” Dr. Morray said.

In other words, when you arrive at your workplace on the first day of 2023, will you be glad you stayed up past midnight baking those five dozen more cookies or will you wish you had finished. Harry and Meghan documentaries while making your nighttime cheese? The choice is really yours to feel rested after your vacation.


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