Another year, another holiday season comes and goes – quickly. We are already in February of 2019, and may still be asking ourselves, “Where did the time go?” As enjoyable as the holiday season may be, one possible aftereffect that unfortunately lingers is stress, which affects many of us. We can refer to this as “post-holiday stress.” And it can linger for a while.
Not out-of-the-ordinary to feel stress after the holidays.
Believe it or not, it is actually natural to feel post-holiday stress. Think about it. The task list of sending out cards, rushing around to buy gifts (with the need to buy one or two at the last minute), among many other activities, stirs us up. And for those who host holiday get-togethers for families and friends, the stress levels practically double. So, after all that planning and preparation, the holidays arrive – are over with – but we are still keyed-up. So, as belated holiday present or New Year’s resolution to ourselves, however belated it may be, we need to de-stress.
There are as many methods of unwinding and coming down from the holidays as can be imagined. But, why not consider an option that will not only relieve stress but improve your health? Have you ever thought about yoga? You may be familiar with the name, but do you know what yoga is?
Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of the Hindu philosophical traditions, and its discipline combines breath control, meditation, and adapting the body to specific postures. Many people practice yoga for improved health and increased relaxation.
Claire Grieve, writing for Mind, Body, Green, offers further explanation about the benefits of yoga: “A regular yoga practice also allows you the time to disconnect from the world and connect to your breath, both of which can be invaluable for maintaining a state of inner calm.”
Please keep in mind, however, that if you think practicing yoga is worth a try, it is best to learn basic knowledge of the poses, either from a class or a one-on-one session with an instructor, as well as consulting with your health care practitioner before beginning.
Stress can affect our health in ways we may not be aware of – not just emotionally, but physically. In a report from the Mayo Clinic, the adverse effects of stress may cause headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, change in sex drive, upset stomach, and problems sleeping. (And remember, these are just the physical side effects of stress.) In such cases, massage therapy may be a preferable and safer alternative to yoga.
If you are unsure about whether a massage therapy session is worth the money or time, consider the benefits – which you may find outweigh the cost. The benefits to massage therapy, as outlined by Body & Mind, begin with the obvious one: relaxation, whereby the body undergoes a “recovery mode,” transforming into a healthier state of being. Additionally, getting a massage can help lower blood pressure, promote muscle relaxation, improve circulation and posture, and strengthen the body’s immune system.
It is a person’s responsibility to maintain the health of his or her body, mind, and spirit. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got. And the holidays, while a happy time, can indirectly harm our health due to the stress of the activity surrounding the season. If you are feeling any indicators of stress, such as being drained, tired out, or achy after the holidays – especially two months later – do yourself the favor of being good to yourself, either through practices such as yoga, or splurging for a massage. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for it.
Additionally, if this blog has inspired you to consider a career in massage therapy, physical therapy, or any other health-related career, Swedish Institute may be able to help you get started. Contact us today to learn more.