The holidays can be a joyous time of family, friends, food, and fun — bedecked halls and mantles, twinkling lights, gifts, parties, turkeys, hams, cookies, chestnuts roasting on an open fire … *sigh*
Of course, it can also be a stressful time of family, friends, food, and fun — raise your hand if your jeans are a wee bit tight and you’re nursing a persistent hangover. (I blame the copious amounts of bourbon-laced eggnog required to wash down Aunt Patty’s unpalatable fruitcake.) Though, the eggnog does help to tolerate Uncle Doug’s unsolicited political opinions and dating advice. But I digress.
No matter how you celebrated the holidays, if you celebrated at all, it was difficult to escape the hustle and bustle of your fellow humans as they dashed about, stressed out and panicky, possibly surly, during this most wonderful time of the year. And I’m guessing, Johnson & Wales students and faculty, you had upcoming exams and papers looming in the back of your minds.
It’s no secret that the energy of others influences our own. Pair that crazy energy with our individual stressors, mix in some unmet holiday expectations and family obligations, add a dash of mourning and loss, and a sprinkle of holiday-related debt, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for what I like to call “Post-Holiday Exhaustion.”
So, how does one recover from all of this? I’m so glad you asked. Below you will find some sage and practical advice, which, unlike Uncle Doug’s, is actually useful.
1. Eat Your Veggies.
If you’re like me (my jeans are too tight, remember?), you’ve been snacking on all of the Christmas goodies at all of the holiday parties. Sugar and carbs and fat, oh my! Adjust your eating to include lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Can’t fight the chocolate craving? Opt for dark chocolate, take small bites, and savor the experience.
2. Drink Your Water.
Again, if you and I are similar, you imbibed a bit too much this season on all of those Christmas libations. Darn you, tasty Christmas sangria concoctions! Rehydrate your cells, plump your skin, and clean out your system with good ol’ water. Add some lemon, lime, cucumber or berries to make it tastier, but water is the way to go.
3. Be Still.
Stop mentally moving for a moment. As a highly energetic person, I know that this is easier said than done, but it’s important to be quiet and just breathe. If you’re one to meditate, go for it. If not, try it; simply put, sit in a comfortable position, straighten your spine, close your eyes. Inhale for eight counts (fill your lungs), hold for four counts, exhale for six counts. Repeat at least five times. Focus attention on your breath and the feeling of your lungs expanding and contracting. This is a perfect exercise to prepare yourself for rest and for those moments when you feel your anxiety level rising.
4. Move Your Body.
The seeming irony of following “Be Still” with “Move Your Body” is not lost on me, y’all. It is possible to still your mind and move your body at the same time (hello, yoga). Every single day, move your body — get the blood flowing, the heart pumping, the lungs expanding. Not only is this good for knocking off that Christmas goodie weight, it helps to sharpen your mental and physical reflexes.
5. Get Some Fresh Air.
For many of us, wintertime equates to cold, gray, and dreary weather. Who wants to go out in that? I mean, unless there’s at least six inches of fresh snow, it isn’t really walking in a winter wonderland, right? Bundle up and head outside, anyway, even if it’s for a few minutes. Breathe in the cool air, listen to the breeze blow or the snow fall, watch animals skitter about. If you are in an urban location, find a patch of grass on which to sit, or locate a tree planted in a sidewalk planter and lean on it. Even the pigeons can bring a sense of connection to nature. Allow yourself to feel and accept nature however it presents itself to you.
6. Prepare Your Calendar.
After this break, you probably have many approaching deadlines. Perhaps you are an old-school-paper-planner user. Maybe you’re a phone-calendar-app type of person. Whatever your method, take the time to analyze your calendar, plan your time, and get your mind set for the upcoming challenges.
I hope your holidays and break were enjoyable and exciting, warm and filled with laughter, even if you had to listen to Uncle Doug’s misperceptions of Brexit. I wish you a sane and seamless transition back into the term and your work. Namaste, y’all.
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