5 Tips to Rise Above Post-Holiday Stress

Here's a few simple tips to keep you afloat and breathing as we start off the new year.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Taking time off—especially during the holidays—is essential to maintaining our health and well-being. While our bodies catch up on well-deserved rest, our minds also need to unplug and take a break from the constant broadcast of mainstream social media.

But the momentum of the world doesn’t stop just because we do.

After the holidays, we may find it a bit overwhelming getting back into our busy lives and daily responsibilities. And just like diving into a cold pool, plunging headfirst back into the flow of our personal routines can be quite a shock until we warm back up.

But fear not. Even if you are feeling stressed or finding it difficult to keep your head above water, here are some simple tips to help keep you afloat during these first few weeks of the New Year:

Take a timeout. Breaks are underrated! If we focus too long in one sitting, we face brain fatigue, and ideas can become stale and unoriginal. Taking a timeout can be as informal as taking a walk or as formal as meditation. There’s been more and more proof that meditation helps us be healthier and happier. Even sitting in silence for 5 to 10 minutes can have powerful effects on reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Take a moment to quiet your mind and receive the benefits.

Observe your thoughts. Our thoughts are extremely powerful and will take us in whichever direction we are focused—whether it’s toward the things we like or don’t like. And since our thought energy is powerful, we quickly create momentum in any direction. When we observe our thoughts, we can begin to choose one thought over another and change our experiences in a positive way.

Just breathe. It may sound simple, but the breath is the lowest common denominator in our human experience—it’s the first thing we do when we enter this world, and the last thing we do when we leave. Taking deep breaths can help the body return to a better-balanced state and reconnect us with our quiet inner guidance.

Do something fun and easy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, carve out some time in your day to do something fun and easy to do. For example, read a book, listen to music, watch a movie, or go for a walk. Healthy distractions can be helpful solutions. Getting out of your head for short periods of time can have long lasting effects.

Take one step at a time. Although we hear this advice throughout our lifetime, putting it into practice can be challenging—especially if we are results-oriented. Taking one step at a time means keeping our goal in mind while honoring the process of unfolding. This perspective allows for life to take us in new directions while still reaching our destination. Sometimes the unplanned experiences turn out to be the best ones.

So the next time you feel like it’s sink or swim, recall one of these simple suggestions to help you stay afloat, breathe the air, and get back in the game. The world needs you today!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people maintain balance during transitions in their work, relationships, and life. Learn more at

Enjoyed this article? Find more of Michael’s stories, insights, and life lessons in Bald Men Don’t Use Hairspray and Other Assumptions, now available on Amazon. More information at


Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Thrive Global on Campus//

The 6 Easiest Ways to Transition Back to School After a Holiday

by Sruti Bandlamuri

Calm for Christmas: Top 7 Tips for Holiday Stress Relief

by Chelsea Clark

5 Tips for Happy Holidays Without Alcohol

by Heather Lowe

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.