Whilst Christmas is a great opportunity to catch up with loved ones, it can also be a time that depletes our energy and bank balances. If ever there is a time to prioritise self-care – it is now!
We’ve put together a few practical tips to help you keep calm and centred this holiday season.
Plan for Quiet Time
December can get chaotic with more social outings than any other time of year. Be sure to block some time off to just relax. Go for a walk, read a book, take a nap or binge on Netflix. Whatever makes you feel recharged. If a whole day is out of the question, find regular 10–minute breaks to focus on you.
Remember to pause frequently through the day and practice mindfulness. You can try the five senses method:
- Look around for 5 things you can see – then close your eyes for the next part
- Listen for 4 sounds around you – birds, traffic, your breathing
- Note 3 sensations in your body – breeze on your skins, the carpet beneath your toes, your hair tickling at your face
- Try to discern 2 smells – shampoo in your hair, nearby flowers, someone heating their lunch in the office
- Identify the main taste in your mouth – coffee, toothpaste, the last snack you ate
Open your eyes and ask yourself ‘How do I feel?’ If you are still feeling quite tense, you need to consider what you can change over the next week or so to alleviate some of your stress.
Get comfortable saying “No”
You do not need to say yes to every invitation just because it’s Christmas. You have all year to spend time with friends and family. Don’t try to cram everything into one month just because society has created a hyper-social concept around this holiday. It’s ok to say no, if you want to.
If there are many people you feel the need to catch up with, you could try using the forgotten arts of writing letters or planning a good phone call as a more intentional way of connecting with some people. Prioritise this season as a chance to spend time with the circle of people who make you feel good about yourself. This includes family.
If you have family members who tend to drive up your blood pressure and can’t avoid spending time with them, then the trick is to be prepared! Think about the usual topics that trigger arguments between you and practice calmly opting out of the conversation this year.
‘I know this is something you are really passionate about, I am too. However, this year I really want us to all enjoy being together, so I’d prefer not discussing anything controversial.’
Set a ‘change of topic’ sentence with a partner or sibling at the start of the day. When you start to feel a disagreement brewing, you’ll could say something random like ‘How about those Broncos?’ which is a trigger for them to intervene and start a new conversation.
To learn more on non-violent communication – check out our post here.
Listen to Your Body
If ever there is a time to try and stay in tune with your body’s messages, it is the festive season. Try to find ways to move your body for joy, whether that is walking, swimming, dancing, boxing, stretching. The benefits of conscious movement include improved mental health and focus.
There is no such thing as good food or bad food! Food has no moral value.
Sometimes the food that makes your body happy will be loads of salads and fruit, sometimes it will be loads of Rum balls and shortbread. Just enjoy it for what it is.
Drink more water. Lots more water.
Christmas can be a busy period, so this is the time to off-load some duties. Perhaps that means doing up an extra chore list for the family, so the tasks are shared more equitably. Perhaps that means hiring a cleaner to spring clean the home. Don’t feel guilty about this – if you can spare the cash, it is worth it to free up your time.
You also don’t need to create a Michelin star worthy meal for Christmas day. Remember, the idea is to spend time together and celebrate your relationships. Don’t let the stress of a fancy meal ruin your ability to enjoy your family.
We live in a pretty amazing part of the world in Australia. For many, it has been a tough year though and you may be feeling depleted. Reflect on the positives you have achieved this year and think about the energy you want to end 2019 with. Gratitude is a great place to start. Even if it something as small as the cup of coffee in your hands, consciously being thankful for it has endless benefits for your mental, physical and emotional health.
We hope you have a very joyous, safe and relaxing holiday season.