• How to Decompress After the Holidays 

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    How to Decompress After the Holidays 

    You made it. You survived. You are on the other side of family/friend holiday gatherings. But, what do you do now? All that time with family and friends, especially if you struggle with trauma/attachment difficulties, can take a lot out of you. 

    On the surface, those gatherings are meant to be full of joy and fun but for many, they are a time of significant emotional turmoil. You may have felt a whole range of emotions over the past couple of months. You could have felt deep, intense sadness and grief for people or experiences that are no longer, annoyed with things done or said, tension in awkward moments, anxiety over preparations, or overwhelmed at all the things. Alongside the negative feelings, you may have also felt peace, hope, happiness, or gratitude. 

    And, now you are likely feeling exhausted. Or, maybe you are feeling relieved, confused, or disappointed.

    At CW Psychological Services in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we help many clients navigate stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and attachment difficulties, among other mental health challenges. Our counselors and associate clinicians understand the many pressures of the holidays and life in general, which is why we have put together this list of ways to decompress after a, shall we say, “complicated” holiday season. 

    decompress holidays trauma attachment

    1.) Sit With Your Feelings 

    Whatever it is you are feeling right now, let it be. Let it simmer and soak and hopefully evaporate over time. We all need time and space after the hectic holiday season to decompress and reset. There is no magic switch to make everything feel better and attempting to push feelings down and hide them away usually only makes them return with a fiery vengeance. Instead, embrace the way you feel, validate those feelings, and listen to your body (it’s ok to take that nap). 

    If you are a trauma survivor or struggle with attachment, holiday time can be even more confusing. It can be challenging to be in group settings, surrounded by potential triggers. It can feel like you are constantly “pretending” that everything is ok when in reality you just trying to make it through the moment. That in itself is exhausting.

    decompress holidays trauma attachment 

    2.) Name Your Emotions

    A lot of things happen during family and friend gatherings that are unexpected. Maybe you thought a certain tradition would happen and it didn’t, maybe there was a conversation you didn’t expect to have that had you rattled, or maybe things just didn’t feel right this year. Take some time during this period of emotional hangover to name what you are feeling. 

    What are those emotions and why might you be feeling them? Were you triggered and by what? Take an emotional inventory. And, know it is ok to feel both joy and sadness in the same moment. If you can, this is a great time to journal or even just talk to yourself out loud while alone in your car or home. 

    3.) Get Back to a Routine

    It has likely been difficult to keep much of a healthy routine lately. You have probably been eating more (and less healthy) than usual, sleeping less, and forgoing certain self-care behaviors like exercise or counseling appointments. Now is the time to figure out a new routine and determine the best way to get back on track. Feeling better comes from taking care of yourself at the core—sleeping enough, eating well, exercising, and attending to your emotional needs. 

    decompress holidays trauma attachment

    4.) Determine Any Changes/Resolutions for the New Year

    The new year is always a great time for a reset. Take some time to analyze your life and determine what small (or big) changes you can and want to make this year. Find something positive to focus on. Something that gives you hope and energy. It could be as simple as attending a yoga class with friends once a month or eating more plant-based foods. 

    It might be setting more boundaries to protect your space. Learn from the stress and triggers of the past few months and ask yourself what you need. Maybe right now, you need a break from people or plans. That is ok. 

    Choose things that feel attainable. 

    5.) Be Kind

    Practice kindness for yourself and others. Give yourself some grace and acknowledge that many others are probably also struggling. Stand up for yourself and your needs—take a nap, say “no” to things you don’t feel like doing, and breathe in gratitude. Let yourself be human and spread that reality to others. 

    Getting Help

    If you or someone you love is having trouble recovering from the stressful holiday season or is struggling with triggers related to trauma or attachment difficulties, we are here for you. Counselors and therapists can help teach you healthy coping strategies and provide different perspectives. 

    Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania? 

    Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained. We have openings for online or telehealth therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call (610) 308-7575. We want to help.