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Recovering from the Holidays

by Chris Sellers

The holidays are a time of great anticipation. For weeks we plan, decorate, shop, wrap, prepare meals and do last minute runs to the store in preparation for seeing friends and family. Then over a matter of days, we visit, host, overeat and “burn the candle at both ends”. While all that social activity may fill us with great joy and excitement, it can also result in a post-holiday letdown. The subsequent combination of cleaning, taking down the decorations and returning to our normal routine can be difficult to manage for children, youth and adults alike. Here are a few tips that may help ease the transition for you and your family.

Recognize the Post-Holiday Letdown. With all that build up, celebration and socializing, our bodies and minds are exhausted and need time to relax and regroup. Appreciate that there is a post-holiday letdown and that fatigue affects people in different ways. Be patient and recognize that we all need time to unwind.

Accommodate Behaviour Changes. After the celebrations some people are energized and happy while others feel exhausted and sad that everyone is gone. The post-holiday letdown can result in behaviour changes such as young children having tantrums, teenagers seeking the seclusion of their rooms and adults being more testy than usual. These are normal behaviours as we all decompress and contemplate the cleanup effort. We may need to manage our expectations of how much people are willing and able to do and make adjustments accordingly.

Take a Nap. If you are really tired, reward yourself and your family with a short nap. Not everyone will sleep, but just the down time can be refreshing and help us all work better together.

Exercise. Go for a short walk to get some exercise, fresh air and maybe even some sunshine (weather permitting). Take the family or go on your own. Walk at a good pace with arms swinging or at a calm pace while taking in the sights and sounds of your neighbourhood. The body usually responds well to exercise and often rewards you with more energy in the future.

Eat Properly. Okay, so we overate a bit – we sampled new dishes, ate rich and fatty foods, ate at all hours and had more to drink than usual. Now is the time to get our diet back to a healthier norm. Focus on moving back to normal mealtimes and quantities, reach for healthy snacks when you need a something to get you through to the next meal, and work toward meals with a good balance amongst the food groups.

Climb the Mountain One Step at a Time. Many of us dread the prospect of taking down and packing the decorations, changing the sheets, doing the laundry, taking out the tree and cleaning the house. The best way to tackle any large job is to break it down into smaller activities and take your time. Choose one thing that can be completed and work through it. Involve others if you can. Once it is done, recognize that you are making progress and start the next task. Take breaks between tasks if you need them and appreciate that by taking your time you will accomplish more and feel good about