With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about ways to stay on top at this time of year. The holidays are generally associated with the words ‘love’, ‘happiness’ and ‘joy’, and is a great time for celebrations and taking a well-deserved break at the end of a long and busy year. However, for many of us, it can feel like the complete opposite. Love, happiness, and joy, quickly turn into stress, pressure, and tears, in the quest for the ‘perfect’ Christmas.
We forget what it’s all about, we forget OURSELVES!
Health and wellbeing, in particular, are often overlooked at Christmas, as the shopping, food, parties, late nights, pressures of family dynamics, financial burdens, and high expectations take over. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it can be exhausting!
Not forgetting that Christmas flows swiftly into the New Years parties, and we suddenly find ourselves right in the middle of the January blues!
While it is the season of giving, this does not have to be at the expense of YOU. This time of year can be a great opportunity to reconnect with what is really important. Love, happiness, and joy are an inside job; no amount of gifts or Christmas cheer can replace love and self-worth, and the joy and happiness that is cultivated by you, for you, which radiates out to your friends and family.
We are all running around, thinking about what we need to be, do and give, which is a beautiful sentiment, however, in the meantime, we forget about our personal needs and our own self-care and, as a result, end up running on empty. We cannot serve from an empty vessel!
So how can we enjoy the Christmas season, yet continue to prioritize ourselves, our health and wellbeing?
1. Remember what Christmas all about.
Think about what is really important and what are you sacrificing in the quest for the perfect Christmas? Is it worth it? Find perspective! When you find yourself in the spiral, step back, and look at what really matters to you. Why is it important to you? Every time you are faced with a choice or temptation, remember that you have something greater than that moment to measure it against. For example, will the annual stressful shopping trip create the ‘happiness’ you want for your family? Are you prioritizing the idea of what happiness looks like instead of what it truly is?
2. Start with you.
Your kids, parents, friends, and even the dog will all enjoy Christmas just as much if the napkins don’t match the centerpiece! They won’t tell you, but they actually don’t care if they do! What they will notice most, is you and your energy. So vibe high, don’t get bogged down in the little things, and put some time in for you! Prioritise your self-care and personal routine, and you will find you have a lot more energy, resilience, and joy, to deal with whatever comes your way!
3. Set meaningful goals.
Depending on where you are in the world, the nights are getting longer and the days are getting crisper. All the more reason to want to hibernate and pack in your usual self-care routines. If you do have personal goals; whether it’s your diet, fitness, mindset, daily ritual or relationships, You get to redefine them and stay in control.
Set goals that are achievable, rather than trying to keep up with ones not designed for this time of year. If you know there will be lots of social events, plan around that. Yes, you may need to scale back on your usual routine, but that’s totally okay. Stay in control by making the decisions now, instead of letting circumstances make them for you and then beating yourself up about it.
4. Eat well and allow for treats.
I never call eating ‘unhealthy’ foods a ‘cheat’; that’s just laden with guilt and judgment! Make sure that you don’t punish yourself over the Christmas period by always saying no to the things you enjoy, as that usually leads to guilt eating or overindulgence anyway! Allow for treats and know when saying no feels like the right thing. Pleasure in food is good for the soul!
Make sure to pack your diet with healthy and nutritious foods, and water too! If you take an 80:20 approach, and have accounted for some indulgences, you are more likely to stay on track than throw the towel in all together! When January rolls around, you can then redefine your goals!
Let’s talk about stress. Stress is often a big part of Christmas and, when we don’t learn how to manage it, it can have a very powerful effect on our wellbeing. Stress can impact our ability to deal and cope with situations in an effective way. It can shut down our immune systems and can have a huge effect on our serotonin levels (known as our ‘happy hormones’). Stress can also often leave us feeling depleted and burnt out.
Ways to combat stress are; focusing on having an empowered mindset, being fully aware of the decisions and thoughts we have; finding perspective, practicing gratitude, and staying focused on what really matters – and it’s usually not the material things!
These five simple things will change your Christmas, and life, forever. You’ll see and feel the difference and all your friends and family will want to know your secret. Go on, share it with them… It is Christmas after all!