Christmas is a wonderful time of giving gifts, gatherings, Christmas markets and cheer. It is a time of year which can be difficult for many. And also a time where we need to be particularly proactive with our wellbeing.

To help manage those feelings of exhaustion, worry, sluggishness, and not taking a moment to pause. We share here our 6 top tips!

Tip Number 1: Socialise to levels which suit you

As humans we all need social connection. We are wired that way. But some of us need it more than others. For those who are extroverted, they will gain their energy from those around them. Therefore social interaction is incredibly important to keep that person going. For others who are more introverted (alert- this does not always mean a shy and retiring individual!) What this means is they draw their energy from within. Therefore lots of social gatherings and connection can actually sap their energy. This means an introverted individual will need more time to recover between events.

Have this in mind when planning your social calendar. Set boundaries. Say no. And create more opportunities to interact with others if needed.

Tip Number 2: Rest

The run up to Christmas can be stressful and exhausting. Getting things ready for the big day. Finishing off work before the holidays. Some work places become even busier this time of year through extra demand. Throw in the events, festivities and get togethers. It can feel like you’re on auto pilot just moving from one thing to the next and not taking the time to pause.

Rest time is important. Whether that be planned rest days. Or scheduling time to relax. Doing the things you love, and you don’t need to be productive. Watch a movie; your favourite TV series. A nice hot bath or a hobby you enjoy. Getting out in nature can also be restful.

Tip Number 3: Keep Active

Now you’re probably thinking that is all you’re doing over Christmas! There’s always something and no time to take a breathe. Remember your physical fitness. Keeping active helps to counteract some of the self indulgence. It also lifts our mood with the release of mood boosting chemicals in the brain. Keeping active also helps to energise you and helps to overcome the sluggish feeling many of us endure following overindulgence. Its is also an incredible reliever of stress and anxiety and can therefore help keep those levels more manageable over the festive period.

Be realistic. Now is not the time to commence running 5k every day if you’ve never run before! Take it easy and keep active to your levels. Whether that is a regular walk. Getting out in the fresh air. Doing some yoga stretches. High Intensity Interval Training. Keeping up with the gym. Shorted but frequent workouts at home. The list is endless! Keep it achievable to keep you motivated and ‘eat the frog’ as they say. If it is your least favourite thing to do, get it out of the way first thing.

Tip Number 4: Express Gratitude Daily

Our brains have evolved to keep us safe and to protect us from danger. We therefore have a natural negative skew. This means we have to work much harder at appreciating the things that bring us joy.

So why bother? Well actually there is a lot of science behind the practice of gratitude. It can improve our sleep. It helps our cognitive functioning. Grateful people have fewer stress related illnesses and are more physically fit. They also have more satisfying relationships with others. Gratitude can lower stress levels and improve mood, optimism and hope.

There are many ways in which you can express gratitude. A gratitude journal encourages you to record what you are thankful for each day. There are virtual gratitude groups such as on Facebook or WhatsApp which you can join. You may want to create your own gratitude jar and each day you fill it with a note fo what you are thankful for that day. Or even a gratitude tree!

If the lead up to Christmas feels frantic and fraught why not start your gratitude practice today?

Tip Number 5: Budget and stick to it

There can be a lot of pressure at Christmas to spend lots of money. But it isn’t necessary. Not only do we live in a world of over-indulgence; the knock on effects on our planet are huge. Try to be more mindful in what you are purchasing and why.

Once Christmas has passed many are faced with mounting debt and a pessimistic start to the new year ahead. And budget not just for gifts but also the social events, the outfits associated with these, taxis. Our spend in December soon adds up.

There are alternatives. Which leads me nicely onto our final tip which is to give.

Tip Number 6: Give

And this one isn’t just about giving gifts! Giving is one of the key components to wellbeing. And this can be interpreted in so many different ways. We don’t need to be financially generous to give.

Giving someone your time. A phone call to someone you’ve not spoken to for a while. Giving donations to a local baby bank or other charities. Invite someone for Christmas dinner who you know will be alone this Christmas or arrange to call in to see them. Handmade vouchers are often really well received- an offer to clean or cook a meal for instance!

Giving can be your time, not just your money.

 

We wanted to write this blog now so that you can effectively plan your December in a way which optimises your wellbeing. Take on board as many tips as you feel able. But do focus on you, remember you can’t pour from an empty cup!

Jennifer Rawlinson, Flourish in Mind