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5 Ways to Unwind After the Holidays

While offices and schools may look at the holidays as a vacation, for most of us, the holidays are the farthest thing from it. After weeks of scrambling to make travel plans, buy gifts, and plan for holiday dinners or family gatherings, we’re often more stressed out and exhausted than we were heading into the holiday. Making matters worse, many of us come out of the holidays tight on cash and looking for ways to cut back on spending.

Here are some simple, affordable ways to unwind after the holidays:


One of the easiest ways to unwind is by establishing a meditation or mindfulness routine. You don’t need to pull out the yoga mat for this—you can wake up early with a cup of hot coffee or tea, find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and enjoy being in your skin for a moment. Take the time to reacquaint yourself with your senses. Let your consciousness move through your body, enjoying how your muscles feel.

Even better, make it something regular and take some time out of your day to keep yourself running even when it feels like you’re drowning in post-holiday work. However much stress you feel, remind yourself that these concerns are temporary: you’ll get through this the way you’ve been able to get through everything else.


Stimulate your senses with a hot bath or shower. Put on some music. Carve out some time to take an extra nap. Curl up with a good book. The priority here—and you’re going to find that this is a theme—is you. That’s right. After making the rounds and treating everyone as the priority over the holiday season, it’s time for you to focus on giving yourself some time to relax.

woman sitting on ground resting head in hands who looks sad and in painExercise

Holidays can be tricky to navigate in terms of diet and exercise. It’s torture for many of us, but the research shows that exercise improves mood and lowers stress levels. When you’re returning to reality after a visit home or time with extended family, take the opportunity to pick back up old exercise routines or establish new healthy ones. Even if it’s just for a few days, every little bit helps. Getting out for a quick walk, run, or bike ride will do wonders for your self-esteem and energy levels.

Treat Yourself

Find an affordable way to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Was there something you were really looking forward to over the holiday season but didn’t get? It might be something you dropped some hints about to your husband or wife, or maybe you couldn’t carve out the extra time for a special trip to get a massage or a pedicure.

Ideally, this should be an activity that gets you out of the house and away from any family members who might be driving you nuts. We all need space, so if nothing else, treat yourself to some.

Take a Break

Consider taking a three-day weekend after the holidays to give yourself an actual break. You don’t have to go anywhere special—although picking out an Airbnb or local hotel room might be a fun diversion if you can find something cheap. Give yourself an actual break—the one your holiday vacation couldn’t be.


A particularly harrowing holiday season is sometimes a good time to check in with your therapist or counselor. Families often know all the right buttons to push to drive you over the edge. If you’re feeling stressed out after a rough holiday season, reach out to your therapist to unpack your feelings.

Getting things off your chest might be just what you need to feel better. Reach out to us to learn more about how anxiety therapy can benefit you.