As wonderful as the festive period can be, enjoying your favourite events, activities and people, Christmas can be a time of increased anxiety and stress, particularly where we are in 2020. With the pressure of getting the ‘right’ Christmas gifts, not being able to see all of your loved ones and the general business of the holiday season, it’s important to take the time to stay mindful and look after yourself. In that vain, here are our top tips to say ‘sayonara’ to stress this Christmas:
Tip 1: Take ‘you time’ breaks
It’s the ‘season of giving’ which often means that you spend most of your time thinking of and doing things for other people. This is lovely, keep doing it, but not at the expense of yourself. Make sure you do one thing per day that is purely for you. This might be sitting and taking 5 minutes alone with a cup of tea, doing a small meditation/breathing practice or having a relaxing bath!
Tip 2: Don’t get overwhelmed by festive invitations
It’s at this time of year that the social engagements increase tenfold, now we know that these are now predominantly virtual but the tip still stands. Learn when to say no. If it’s getting too much, don’t overcommit and save yourself for most important things. It can be easy to get swept up into the fun of it all but make sure you’re not saying yes because you feel bad turning down an invitation.
Tip 3: Prioritise your sleep!
Now is THE time to focus on getting the best sleep you can. I say best rather than most because sleep quality is key. When we’re deprived of sleep our cortisol levels increase and the resilience of our stress response can be negatively affected as well as our ability to regulate weight (which at this time of year full of delicious winter foods can only be an added stress factor). So in conclusion – SLEEP – stop looking at screens at least 30 minutes before bed, try reading instead or if you struggle with runaway thoughts, download the Calm app – it has an amazing range of meditations and sleep stories (some free and some premium) that can help you drop into the land of Nod.
Tip 4: Plan your Christmas Day schedule ahead of time
One of the most anxious things on Christmas Day can be getting the food ready to all come out at the same time. You have the Turkey, the trimmings, the gravy etc. etc. (or maybe you have an alternative holiday dinner!) so making sure that you plan your day ahead of time can save you a lot of stress with last minute preparations! Why not try preparing some of your trimmings the day before! This will give you more time on the day and also make sure you enlist help! The festive period is a time for giving so why not let people ‘give back’ to you.
Whatever you do this Christmas Season, remember to look after your health (both physically and mentally) and enjoy!!