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Support for Post-Holiday Burnout

The holidays hit me hard this year. More than any other year, I felt a certain frenzy, an intensity, a string of demands and obligations and to-dos that in prior years felt like a luxury, a privilege, a joy. All the presents to buy. The outings to plan. The people to feed. Perhaps the post-covid novelty had worn off. My body wanted to rest.

In Chinese Medicine, Winter is a time for rest. It is the season of water, of gestation, of stillness. The nights are twice as long as the days, and in that darkness our body’s rhythm beckons us to find quiet, to turn our gaze from the outer world to the inner landscape where we honor the surrender of all that was Autumn, and plant the seeds for a new beginning.

Just as the seed in Winter is buried deep in the soil, seemingly inert but gathering strength, waiting for the right moment to burst forth into Spring, so too are our bodies and spirits in need of a dark quiet sanctum during the Winter months.

Unfortunately, our consumer-based capitalistic culture isn’t on board with all that resting. Instead we are asked to make magic, to light up our homes and our gardens with bright colored lights, to dream up the perfect gifts for everyone from children and grandparents to teachers and mail carriers, to snatch up tickets to theaters and festivals, to bake cookies and pies and breads and to eat them all. We travel, we host, we cook, clean and repeat, we sponsor families in need so they can participate in the frenzy like the rest of us. We leave no time for rest. We think there is some sort of prize at the end for doing all of the things.

As I begin to re-emerge from my post-holiday slumber, I notice the incredible strain that I’ve placed on my spirit-body this season. It seems unfair that we are asked to summon such active yang energy during the most yin-time of the year, and my initial reaction is one of frustration. Why is our culture so adamant about robbing us of our rest?

But it also seems that much of my exhaustion could be avoided by modulating the culture’s demand for doing and spending with a more intentional and honorable approach. It is certainly fair to wonder how much of the pressure of the holidays is self-imposed, and how I may find the ease and rest I need while still participating in the things that bring me joy. Our culture is not going to change, and excusing myself from the holidays seems, at least at the moment, an impossibility. But perhaps I can change my relationship to rest, knowing that during these Winter months my body needs more of it, and in order to get more of it I’ll need to hone my awareness and let some things go.

As it stands, rest and I are playing catch up this Winter. Here are some ways that I like to support my body and spirit after holiday burnout.

  • Earlier bedtime, allowing for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.

  • Plenty of room-temperature water and warming nutritious foods.

  • Journaling and/or 15 minutes per day of intentional quiet time doing absolutely nothing.

  • Essential oils such as Atlas Cedar Wood to ground and expand, providing the strength and stability to root down, gather what is needed, and offer myself out to the world when ready.

  • Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, or other therapeutic self care to land me in my body, reset the nervous system, move stagnant energy, and cultivate inner resources for the road ahead.

If you, too, are in need of support, respite, or a soft place to land, please get in touch or book a free consult and let us know how we can support you.

(720) 432-5281‬

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