Can you feel the change in the air? Yep, that’s right; the festive season is nearly upon us! Sadly, I can already see the stressed and strained look on some people’s faces.
The first of December rolls around and people get a glazed look in their eyes, running around trying to organise the impossible, stress levels rise, tempers are heightened and the fun is taken out of the festive season. It’s been a big year, and many people feel like they are just trying to muster the energy to get through Christmas and reset for the New Year. But does it have to be this way? Am I the only one who really looks forward to this season? (It’s probably mostly because I get to watch Elf with Will Ferrell again, but that’s another story). This time of the year is for enjoying the company of family and friends, not spending your time exhausted and stressed! Here are some tips for stressing less this holiday season so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Preparation is key
OK, I’m the first to admit that in the past I’ve left Christmas shopping to the last minute, aimlessly around those shopping malls with all the other crazed shoppers, wondering what to buy. It definitely takes the sheen off gift giving, which in itself should be something that is enjoyed. These days though, with a toddler in tow, I need to be much better prepared. I write lists and check them twice and try to work out who’s been naughty and ni……. hang on, I’m not Santa Claus!!! But Mr. Claus definitely was onto something with his list writing – it takes the stress and disorganisation out of a situation! So spend some time planning your festive season and what needs to be done and your nervous system will thank you for it. My gift choosing has become more considered, thoughtful and enjoyable during the last few years and has definitely taken some stress out of the festive season for me.
Enjoy The Moment
Now, I’m not saying this one is going to be easy, but living in the moment and being more mindful really does reduce stress levels. Instead of dwelling on the past (why did I eat that last plum pudding?) or worrying about the future (where am I going to get more plum pudding from?), focusing on the present really does have a positive impact on stress and mood. A great way to practice this is to incorporate some type of mindfulness technique into your day. You could try an organised yoga or meditation class or download an app like Smiling Mind, which has some great guided meditations. If all of that even seems too hard, try to be more mindful in your daily activities such as brushing your teeth or being more present when you have your breakfast. Taking a few deep breaths and setting an intention for your day can also really help get your morning off to a calm and centered start. Remember, around Christmas time (and any other time really), the best gift to yourself and your loved ones is your presence! So put away your phone and reconnect with the ones you care about in meaningful ways.
Go With The Flow
Christmas time is full of expectation and excitement. It’s often when one’s perfectionist streak may come out (wanting to buy the perfect present, have the best outfit, cook the best Christmas meal). But perfectionism causes stress, especially when things don’t go to plan (and they often don’t around Christmas time). So don’t sweat the small stuff. Take it easy and try to be flexible with your plans and your stress levels will most likely stay at a more manageable level. If all else fails, pop on some of your favourite Christmas songs (do I hear Mariah Carey in the background?) and dance your stress away!
Look After Yourself
This one’s a biggie (and something that usually gets forgotten). There are many ways to partake in self-care, which will help you feel balanced, grounded and less stressed during the festive season. My favourite ways to unwind include getting a relaxing massage, doing a restorative yoga session such as yin yoga or taking some herbs to support my nervous system. Herbs such as Rhodiola, Withania and Licorice can beautifully balance, energise and nourish you during the silly season and can be taken as a herbal liquid customised just for you (ask me how), or as a tablet formulation. Whatever you do decide to do for yourself during the festive season, make sure you book it and put it in your diary now, or your self-care will get lot in the craziness of Christmas parties and other social engagements during December.
Christmas is just weeks away, but by implementing some of these strategies now, you will head into the festive season feeling more balanced, less stressed and more able to enjoy this amazing time of the year.
Have questions or comments or just want to connect? I’d love to hear from you.