Re-entry stress? The mental strategies to prevent it

For many of us  September is psychologically considered the beginning of the year , as it refers to new projects and initiatives. Some may experience this phase as a source of enthusiasm , others of discomfort.

Fortunately, there is a transition period between the holiday and the real return to everyday life. And it is precisely on this that we must leverage in order not to be caught unprepared by the sudden change of  habits .

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1. Take advantage of the last few days of vacation

It affects one in 10 people , who feel discomfort, melancholy, restlessness and fatigue. In a concise definition:  reentry stress . The accused is the sudden change from slow, relaxed holiday habits to the hectic pace of everyday life.

Everything comes from the holiday, therefore, that experience that should actually inundate us with well-being. “From the Latin  vacuum,  empty,” vacation “is a sort of” empty space “in which we experience a separation from the routine and sometimes incessant rhythm of work – says professor Roberto Pani, psychotherapist, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bologna – It is a mental space in which we have allowed ourselves a psychological distraction , that is, a change from everyday life, to which, after all, our mind must adapt ».

The more the vacation was a distraction, the more it should allow for a processing of many stresses of the previous months , that is, a greater digestion and tolerance of facts that at the time of their occurrence seemed insuperable.

To counteract the stress of returning home, a solution is to enjoy the typical well-being of the last days of vacation , when both the body and the mind are still inebriated by the feeling of calm and relaxation. It is not a question of putting off commitments, but of not living with exaggerated anxiety .

2. Holidays remain in the memory

To prevent the stress of returning home, continue to keep the slow pace of the holiday for a few days , gradually resuming the daily commitments. Taking  relaxing breaks during the day can be a solution, or not getting tired with moving from one area of ​​the city to another, to carry out errands that can be planned.

Of course, it takes a little patience to return to the everyday situations that we know well . But encouragement can provide us with the energizing vacation experience. In this regard, it is reassuring to note that “the holidays, even when we do not realize it, have their beneficial effect  – continues Prof. Pani – The positive aspects of the holidays are taken over by the mind, even if at the moment of the experience they can not having been perceived as pleasant or funny for any number of reasons. This positive re-enactment will return in the future a sense of pleasure , which will perform a cathartic and liberating function ».

Of course, it is important that the trip has not been stifled by too many programs , because this can cause stress, or a state of confusion.

3. Reorganize your life

The days that separate us from the real return can be occupied by  activities that we have never had time to do during the year , or that we have always postponed.

  • Take advantage of free time to read a book  on a very different topic from what we have read so far, or an essay that helps us think.
  • Tidying up your home byfollowing the rules of Feng Shui which, thanks to the philosophy of  space clearing , free us from the superfluous.
  • Organize and plan activities that you find boring, so that you are prepared for them.

“Of course, this must not become a new task , because otherwise the beneficial effect of the holiday would be nullified, and there would be no possibility of reorganizing one’s life,” warns psychotherapist Pani.

4. Mental spaces to rethink your life

Before returning to the city, it is good to follow some behaviors for your mental well-being:

«To put oneself in the conditions of having a space to think , not to torment oneself paradoxically trying to relax, but to make sure that thoughts flow spontaneously . Only in this way can we swallow certain situations that we have experienced in a stressful way, and see them in more optimistic terms »suggests Pani.

«On vacation, free from dutiful commitments, there is time to listen to each other . This helps to distance yourself from things and give them a better meaning – continues the expert – Both the new alternative experiences to everyday life and free time (where there is no obligation to do things) favor a rethinking of meaning. of one’s life. It is as if, in this “stream of consciousness” one could give a  continuum  to the experiences that connote one’s own identity ».

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5. Working out an unpleasant fact

Holidays are an opportunity to  process something unpleasant that happened to us in the previous months, and that we have not digested. To do this, the experiences of the holiday should  not be too ‘hit and run’ style , but that they are characterized by slower times and intervals between activities.

“Too many programs do not leave enough mental space to process stressful experiences, but force the mind to follow an imposed and no longer free routine,” continues the specialist.

Even a too monotonous holiday is not liberating , because the we generates a sense of loneliness, as if one were left to oneself.

So what to do to review the unpleasant facts of one’s life (an abandonment, a loss, a health problem …)?

«I suggest to rethink what was unpleasant , relativizing its weight. If it comes to mind, while on vacation, you may think that it is relatively trivial or solvable, thanks to the relaxation that the same vacation allows . Of course, it is not always easy, but one should say to oneself:  “It’s all relative because, now that I’m on vacation, I see things in a less absolutist way, and I manage to play down” ».

6. The opportunity to strengthen self-esteem

A holiday is a moment in which one does not wear the (more or less) severe dress required by one’s usual role and by the context in which one lives. It’s a bit like the doctor who takes off his coat …

This offers the strength to have new and stimulating experiences that go beyond one’s   mental habitus . “These are precisely the activities that reinforce self  – esteem – suggests Prof. Roberto Pani – because they give us a positive image of ourselves , as if we were saying to ourselves:” I did something I never would have done, I have it done, and nothing dramatic happened to me! ” . These actions also help to overcome the unpleasant events we were talking about earlier, since it facilitates the reflection that everything is playable, despite the difficulties ».

These are  apparently trivial actions , but they can do a lot in the direction of self-esteem, such as:

  • do not refuse an original invitation(rafting, boat, trekking, camping) just because it is an unusual experience;
  • interact with new peoplewho express very different points of view from ours;
  • eat new foods you havenever tasted;
  • venture into unusual situationsin which you have never been.

All this represents stimuli that offer a decidedly alternative image of oneself , perhaps previously damaged by negative experiences, and which can finally find value.

If you want to take care of your body in addition to post-vacation stress, take a look at detox ideas to purify yourself after the holidays .

 

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