Life is pretty hectic without throwing Christmas, End of Year, New Year (and a birthday!) into the mix. Whilst this time of year can bring joy, beauty and connection, for many people, the festive season is a time of overwhelm, anxiety and exhaustion. But it doesn’t have to be like this; it is possible to create physical, mental and emotional space. Being aware of the challenges and taking the steps to prioritise your health and wellbeing could help alleviate some of the pressure so that you too can enjoy what Christmas is all about.
Create Your Space
Whether you love the Christmas decorations or are an avid Grinch, create a space in your home that is just for you, decorated in a way that makes you feel happy. Add pillows, photos, candles, lights anything that makes you feel like a safe haven away from the outside world. It should be like walking into a warm embrace where you know that everything will be okay.
Christmas is the perfect time to declutter: With presents and sales abundant, you’re likely to need some more space. Go through your clothes and if you haven’t worn it in the last year then donate it to charity. Not only will you feel good for giving, but each time you open your wardrobe to get dressed you will sense the space that you have created.
Clear the Clutter
A tidy home is a great way to bring in the New Year. Go through your things and get rid of what you don’t need and find storage for everything else. More space around you will help you to feel like there’s space in your life. Tidy home, tidy mind. If an object, vase, frame, candle, ornament sparks joy, then keep it, if not responsibly donate or recycle. I love Olio.
Keep a Calendar
Anyone who knows me, knows that this is something I struggle with. I make plans in advance and say yes to everything and then feel a surge of anxiety as I go into the week without any free evenings for life admin and me time. Create boundaries, like no plans on a Tuesday evening, or Saturday morning schedule in some self care.
Work obligations and social events. December is a month of saying “yes”, and whilst the anticipatory excitement may initially feel good, chances are, you’ll end up over-committing and tiring yourself out. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t feel like you need a grand excuse, your wellbeing is reason enough.
Tech Free Time
I can’t stress the power of disconnecting for a few moments each day, however you can. Studies show that we check our phones 150 times a day, nearly every 6 waking minutes! Turn off notifications at set times of the day. Reduce mindless scrolling or better yet, delete social apps. Only respond to emails during work hours. TV free evenings, try colouring, cooking, a board game, or a good old fashioned conversation with your housemate. I’m a fan of tech free meals; try this out over the holidays.
It may be cold outside, but don’t let that stop you from absorbing the incredible benefits of the great outdoors. Have your morning coffee outside, take a walk at lunch or dive into nature at the weekend. Fresh air awakens our senses and encourages a shift from a working mindset to relaxation in just a few minutes. Organise a group Boxing Day walk to get outside and enjoy good company.
Move the Body
As much as I love going to a class and connecting with people, there is something special about practicing in your own space, listening to your body and moving in whatever way feels good to you. And I don’t just mean Yoga here, stretch, dance, freestyle. Practice non-attachment to what you look like and just enjoy the moment and space.
Meditation is good for the soul. It calms our mind, relaxes the body and most of all, creates space in the constant stream of thoughts, criticisms, worries, doubts and fears. We can feel the effects of our practice almost instantaneously but the more we cultivate our practice, the more space we will feel in our everyday life. Find 5 minutes before the chaos begins on Christmas Day to start your day in the best frame of mind. Let go of stress with this guided breath meditation.
Make Me Time
Perhaps most days you boil the kettle whilst making the kids pack lunch, talking to your boss on the phone and gulping it down, burning the throat or spilling it down your shirt. How about making time for your tea, present for the entire process of making to drinking to savouring. Or wake up earlier to enjoy a longer shower. Or sign up for the festive wreath workshop you’ve always wanted to do. Whatever it is, commit to Your Time.
When we feel overwhelmed, run down or depressed, we tend to overlook the simple things that create the space we seek. So remember, these tips are not isolated to the festive season alone. They can all be adapted as a life long practice so that are continually looking after your health and wellbeing. For more tips on how to beat Christmas Stress, check out this post.
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