CBT Therapy Techniques for End-of-Holiday Anxiety
Now that the holiday season is coming to an end, people can find this time of year triggers feelings of anxiety, especially with new work pressures upon returning to work. January can also seem like a struggle with emotional resilience lower than usual. Feelings of low mood or worry about the upcoming year should be discussed with a qualified mental health professional to learn new ways of thinking for the year ahead.
Many people feel a bit down at this time of year but often wait until later in the year before seeking professional help. Onebright therapists traditionally see enquires for therapy drop this time of year, albeit the new year is often one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing times for many people. It may be that it can be a financially stressful time of year. Often, people spend more money than intended over the holiday period. With the December paycheck a distant memory, January can feel like a very long month before payday. Financial trouble is a well-known cause of stress and anxiety commonly cited by clients in CBT Therapy.
Why are the end-of-holidays our most vulnerable?
In addition to financial stress, the days are shorter, and the body’s chemicals that provide motivation and energy from the longer summer sunlight hours are depleted as the winter days become shorter. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that hits many people particularly hard in the New Year, affecting feelings, behaviours and thoughts. In the UK, around 2 million people are affected by SAD, and in Europe, the “winter blues” affect the mental health of nearly 12 million people, including children.
End-of-holiday anxiety can stem from many different beliefs about our life purpose, expectations, and ability to make changes. Because feelings and thoughts drive behaviours, CBT therapy can address underlying assumptions to challenge their validity and create new ways of thinking that replace old ones. Because long-held beliefs can stay with us without being corrected, it can be challenging to let them go.
CBT therapy techniques ask:
- What do we need to put in place to manage these feelings?
- Would you rather be free from these feelings?
- Can we dispassionately evaluate these feelings and acknowledge they may be irrational?
- What if this scenario is an ideal goal and not a necessary perfection?
It is important to note that even long-held beliefs can be let go of with the help and support of an accredited CBT therapist.
The short-term anxiety or sadness that can arise post-holidays shares many of the same characteristic symptoms of an anxiety or mood disorder: insomnia, low energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and anxiousness. But unlike clinical depression or anxiety, the distress is short-lived rather than long-term. With that said, even though the feelings eventually subside, the holidays can bring a sense of dread as recurring feelings continue to rise year after year.
When is the best time to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Generally, there is no right or wrong time to start therapy. However, it is preferable that the sooner a person begins treatment, the sooner they can benefit from CBT therapy, resulting in new ways of thinking and behaving. CBT therapy, among other areas, recommends thinking about the root of a belief.
There are two ways to deal with difficulties in CBT therapy:
- Adjusting attitudes
If a difference between two people causes conflict, a CBT therapist will recommend thinking about solutions that might satisfy each one. Or, one person will need to learn to accept that some things will not change and to find a way to live with them.
Why am I so anxious after the holidays?
Returning to a work environment that doesn’t promote good mental health can have many people on edge towards the end of their holidays. If work had previously made them feel stressed, exhausted and burned out, turning this mindset back on can be overwhelming.
Unfinished projects, unpaid bills or an unpleasant colleague or client; only a few reasons why some people feel anxious about what awaits them upon return to work. Also, feelings of guilt can arise when people feel like they didn’t deserve to take a break or it was somehow selfish while others worked through the holidays.
Can I access CBT therapy through my workplace health insurance?
Onebright works with most major private medical insurance companies in the UK. Accessing CBT therapy or mental health services in London and the UK can start with a simple conversation with an employer requesting a nationally accredited Onebright therapist. Through a mental health partnership, businesses and employees alike can benefit from consultancy, mental health services (including CBT therapy) and corporate analytics to make better-informed decisions.
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