January 24, 2024

How to ease those post holiday blues

How to ease those post holiday blues
Dr. Chris Brown

Standby for dramatic sighs and side eyes with a side of barking coming at you this week. Sadly for the furry family, the end of the holidays takes that endless action and attention off the menu.

It all means that first day back at work or school can feel like the sky is falling in.

But here’s how to help ease that separation anxiety and those post holiday blues. For both of us!

So welcome to my separation survival boot camp! Here goes…

Managing the post holiday blues ideally starts IN the holiday. But that's ok. With these four tips, you’re sure to find something you can swing into action right now…

STEP ONE: The weaning.

The fact is, your attention is like a drug. And after getting their regular holiday hit of it, coming off that attention fix cold turkey is tough. So, in the final few days of the holidays, ease them out of their addiction by asking them to be a little more independent. Start at 5 minutes without giving them attention and build to 10, 20 and 30 minutes. You can still be your normal loving self between these times. They just need to build those separation survival skills.

STEP TWO: Walk it out!

Sure you’ve probably heard morning exercise is useful, but the key is actually the type. Anything too long or involving multiple intense interactions with other dogs can actually heighten their stress levels before you even truly begin the day. So keep it to a gentle walk (around 30 minutes is ideal…unless they’re a highly active dog who needs a run) remembering the key is to keep it all nice and calm.

STEP THREE: Your departure prep begins!

It’s all about giving them the tools to cope with some alone time. But rather than using anything that ‘sedates’ them, my go-to is the amino acid called L-theanine. This is proven to promote calmness while reducing irritability and those worrying anxiety related signs. And it's why I use L-theanine in my Calm + Collected treats. Just remember to give them one hour before you leave. That’s critical. It helps them get on top of the anxiety before it becomes an irreversible force.

Calm + Collected
Calm + Collected

STEP FOUR: Time for some self-soothing!

So here’s the thing. Every dog is equipped with some instinctive coping mechanisms for moments like these. You just need to help them brush on these skills they’re actually born with and rarely use in real life. They’re called ‘self-soothing’ techniques (SST’s) with the classic one being chewing. So it’s a matter of finding a texture in a toy they can happily soothe themselves with.

The fact is no-one takes the end of holidays than the little hairy humans. And that's saying something. But hopefully in these tips, you can have them believing that everything is going to be ok. And the weekend isn't too far away. Talk about relatable!


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