The famous final rush near the finish line of a race: that moment in which you give everything, because then it’s over. A concept that many have borrowed from the world of sport to apply it to that of work: before the holidays, one requires an extra effort from oneself, to finish all the work and be able to leave without worries. With the risk, however, of accumulating an overload of stress that follows us even on vacation, and can come to ruin our hard-earned holidays.
By adopting some precautions towards yourself and paying due attention to your needs, fortunately, you can make sure to release all the stress accumulated before departure, and to get the most relaxation possible from the summer holidays.
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Symptoms of Stress
The maintenance of the state of anxiety for a long time (and consequently of high levels of stress hormones in the circulation, such as adrenaline and cortisol) causes a series of symptoms that should not be underestimated. These include mental blurring and lack of clarity, difficulty concentrating, the feeling of always being late and not making it. There are also more strictly physical symptoms such as stomach ache and headache, tachycardia, breathlessness, difficulty sleeping and falling asleep, musculoskeletal tension up to, in the most extreme cases, real food problems.
And when you go through a period of stress overload – or real burn out – the risk is to be assailed by all its symptoms as soon as you let go. “The risk is analogous to the classic weekend headache,” he explains Luana Morgilli, psychologist psychotherapist and counselor of the Lazio association of psychologists. “When we release all the tension accumulated up to the day before, and the organism understands that it can relax, all the ailments that up to that moment had been kept at bay to be able to perform well emerge”.
Listen to your needs and get out of the routine
The first rule, according to the expert, is to structure the holiday according to one’s personal needs and requirements. It must be, first of all, a pleasant moment for yourself and it must not be reduced in any way to a duty, even if you go on vacation with friends or family. It is also important to try to have new experiences, visit new places and treat yourself to moments that may surprise us, because the risk – if you stay in the routine even on vacation, always going to the same place – is that the habit greatly attenuates the beneficial effects.
The pleasure of company and family
Social relationships can also help with stress, as long as they are enjoyable. It is important to laugh and spend pleasant time with friends to relax, even during the holidays. If you start with friends, the fundamental thing is to always choose people with whom you want to share time, by whom you are not judged in any way or with respect to whom you do not perceive expectations that can agitate us.
“If we go on family holidays it is natural that there are duties and obligations even on vacation days, but it is important to focus on finding the pleasure of being with the family”, says Morgilli. “We must try to enjoy the time with our loved ones, which at times risks being almost a trap on vacation, especially if, as parents for example, we feel guilty for not having spent enough time with our children during the daily working life. . Instead, we must always think about what is good for us, what we like to do together. In general, I would focus everything on trying to satisfy our own needs and passions “.
Exercise is important
Physical activity helps in hormonal regulation linked to the physiological response to stress. Relaxing is good, but it is also useful to include light physical activity such as swimming (even in the sea), or walking by the sea or in the mountains. For sports lovers, on the other hand, active holidays are ideal for having fun, channeling and releasing the accumulated tension, and completely freeing the head.
Il digital detox
Disconnecting from social networks, emails, messages and in general from the use of all technological devices helps to make the most of the holidays. A tip is to dedicate a specific time slot to your mobile phone during the day. Without resorting to extremes, we can decide to check it three times a day, for example, so as not to be always available to friends, relatives, or even to colleagues who are not on vacation like us.
“It is important to stay in the here and now – says Morgilli – which is exactly what relaxation and meditation techniques help us do to be more aware of the reality that surrounds us and of our resources”.
Breathing exercises, even under an umbrella
Connecting with yourself is certainly the first step in learning to manage moments of stress. First, because spending time with ourselves makes us understand what we need to really unload. For this reason, meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises have become increasingly popular in recent years. Even while on vacation – and under an umbrella it is ideal – you can take advantage of the moments of relaxation to apply relaxation techniques or practice deep diaphragmatic breathing, for example. Taking the time to read something undemanding or simply enjoyable to oneself also allows us to connect with ourselves.
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Prevention in everyday life
In everyday life, the first thing to learn is to be aware of one’s limits: many people in fact confuse excess stress (up to the real burn out), with a simple lack of rest or the need for vacation. On the other hand, it is important to be able to recognize, among the various sources of stress, which ones give us the most problems. And, in general, pay attention to the boundary between private life and work.
“It is something that comes with us from the pandemic and the long period we spent in smart working, that of not knowing how to disconnect work and private life. Without having to wait for the holidays, as a rule for everyday life we must always know how to cut out the time to do something pleasant for ourselves “.
One hour a day all to ourselves
An hour a day, or even just half an hour, as long as it is daily and as long as it is something that really pleases us. It could be a physical activity that helps to release accumulated tensions, or another type of leisure, such as an artistic or musical activity, or even moments of socializing separated from work. To take care of yourself on a daily basis, it would also be good to know some specific relaxation techniques, such as autogenic training, mindfulness or simple breathing exercises.
“During working hours, in order not to get caught up in anxiety, self-criticism and negative predictions, we must first of all work on internal dialogue, on the way we talk to each other”, advises the psychologist. “It is the so-called self talk: it is about learning to replace negative thoughts with respect to deliveries, for example, or the fear of not succeeding, with phrases of encouragement and motivation towards oneself. You have to become the first supporters of yourself. particularly stressful moments, then, you can learn breathing exercises to calm down and free your mind so you can concentrate on work and not on worries about work: once you have learned the technique, it takes just two minutes to reset and start again with the right mood “.
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