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Trouble coming down from holiday stress? You’re not alone: Halifax doc

Finding ways to deal with the negative impact of stress caused by the holiday season.

Transitioning back into a “normal routine” can be daunting for many people after the busy holiday season ends.

Time off of work, dinner parties and ringing in the New Year all add up to a lot of “extra demands” that happen over a short period of time.

“I was very tired this morning, didn’t want to get up but you make yourself get up because you have to go back to work at some point,” Trinity Frizzell said, in between breaths during a fitness class in Dartmouth.

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Frizzell is one of many people trying to find her rhythm again after a full month of holiday-related activities.

“I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things, it’s tough to find your groove again,” she said.

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Holiday-related stress impacts many people according to Dr. Daniel Chorney, a Halifax-based clinical psychologist.

READ MORE: Setting ‘realistic’ goals key to staying on top of new year’s resolutions: health professionals

He says hectic schedules can heighten the intensity of mental health ailments.

“It makes any pre-existing condition a little worse. So if you’re already anxious to begin with, the holidays can be especially anxious,” Chorney said.

He says oftentimes he’ll see an increase in the number of people seeking psychological support during the winter and into the spring.

“The number of referrals or calls we receive go up substantially starting in the new year and leading into the busiest time of the year which is the spring,” he said.

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He says a high percentage of Canadians access mental health services throughout the year.

“About 12 per cent of Canadians experience some kind of an anxiety disorder at any given time. About five to six percent of the population has a major depressive disorder or episode,” Chorney said.

One way many people relieve mental stress is through exercise.

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It’s a combination that master trainer and gym owner, Devin Sherrington, swears by.

“There’s nothing like the impact exercise has on your endorphins and ability to change your entire outlook on life. You can go in and feel like crap and come out and feel like a million dollars,” he said.

Chorney says it’s important to keep in mind that not all stress is “bad.”

“We need to learn to look at stress as both good and bad because if we try to eliminate everything in our life that causes us stress, we may accidentally get rid of all the things we care about,” he said.

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