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From Pandemonium to Tranquility: Regaining Calm after Holiday Chaos

Shew, holidays are exhausting. I feel like I have been in a whirlwind of sugar infused chaos for the past 12 hours. It is so fun to celebrate holidays with kids. Getting to see their excitement about things like Easter egg hunts (or afikomen hunts) brings back the kid in most of us. But the amount of chocolate, noise and Easter grass that has surrounded me all day has just about worn me out. Not to mention all the conversation. I am incredibly grateful to have so many wonderful family members with whom to celebrate holidays like today. However, the introvert in me is totally pooped after talking to people all. day. long. So, if you can relate (even the tiniest bit), here are a few BRIEF de-stressing techniques that you can use after a long day of family holiday celebrations.

1. PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). One of my favorites personally and to recommend to clients. Why? Because it's easy to learn AND easy to implement. Best of all you can do it anywhere and it only takes about 10 minutes. Basically you're pairing deep breathing with tensing and relaxing muslces in your body, head to toe. (Hence the name, progressive muscle relaxation). This is a great strategy to use if you're feeling anxious, trying to unwind from a hectic day, or prepare for bed. For more info on how to do PMR check out this site.

2. Guided Imagery. This technique involves envisioning relaxing scenes, places or experiences in your mind. It involves all the senses and should be experienced physically and mentally. This can be particularly soothing if you're trying to mellow out, after a hectic day of activity. If you've practiced guided meditation, this will be a familiar technique. There are lots of apps out there that can walk you through this. Here are a few resources on Guided Imagery:

Guided Meditation apps

Guided Imagery 101

3. Jot it down. Document a couple of over-arching thoughts or themes from your day. Whether that be identifying stressors, clarifying your feelings, or just remembering the best moments of the day, write it down. I try to avoid the terming journaling, because I think this conjures up images of writing 7 pages of "Dear Diary" in a notebook with a lock. However, if you think of journaling as simply a way to track and document thoughts of the day, it may be much less overwhelming. Whether you type it in a Google Doc, "talk to text" it in your Notes app, or take pen to paper, it's a way to get thoughts out of your head. Aim for 3 bullet points as a jumping off point. And when you're finished, close the document, app or notebook and put it away! You've given those thoughts enough energy for one day. Check out ways to use journaling to manage stress:

Therapeutic benefits of keeping a diary

Journaling for Mental Health

Give yourself some breathing room after what was [hopefully] a fun-filled, but tiring day. It's a good thing every day isn't a holiday!

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