10 tips for a stress free Christmas
Like buying a puppy, these tips aren’t just for Christmas!
We love this time of year don’t we? Don’t we? I have made a conscious decision to make this time of year stress free for me. It’s more important to be happy and healthy than to have the perfect Christmas. You can find yourself getting worked up with all the preparations and expectations, trying to keep up with everyone else and exhausting yourself with shopping, cooking and making your own Christmas cards. I’ve got some simple and effective tips for making it less stressful.
10 tips for a stress free Christmas
Slow down. When we are stressed we try and do everything faster and we try and do more. And what do we achieve? Usually not a lot as we run round like headless chickens! Slow down your walking, talking and thinking. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Breathe. We have become weighed down by the stresses of the modern world and this effects how we breathe. We tend to breathe quite shallowly, which if maintained is not good for our general health. Aim to connect with your breath once a day for at least 60 seconds. Aim to breathe even slightly deeper than you normally do. Notice it, feel it, follow it.
Be kind. Especially to yourself. We can neglect our own needs as we are trying so hard to please everyone else. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn't be happy saying to a best friend.
Take time out. Do something that nourishes your physical and mental wellbeing. Sit down, have a cup of tea or sherry if you prefer. Read a book, knit a scarf, whatever makes you relax.
Go for a walk. If it all gets a bit much, wrap up warm and go for a walk to the nearest open space. Fresh air, peace and quiet and no sprouts.
Keep out of the drama. We all have something or someone who you know is going to press the wrong emotional buttons at this time of year. Know what it is and when it (or they) start, distract yourself, go and do something else, get yourself a drink and don’t engage in the first place. Easy peasy.
Eat mindfully. If you are worked about putting on those Christmas pounds try eating slowly and really thinking about what you choose (or not). You’ll eat less and probably enjoy it more.
Laugh. If you find yourself getting worked up over the smallest things, try and see the funny side or better still watch a comedy or your favourite funny film. Turkey is not worth getting upset about.
Gratitude. We can be competing with everyone else at this time of year. For the best presents, for the best decorations, for the best buffet. Thinking about what we deserve, rather than what we already have. Be thankful for what you have right now.
Enjoy it! Getting wrapped up with all of the preparation means we aren’t actually enjoying the best bit and being in the present. Create happy memories rather than worry about getting it right.
If you are finding yourself going Christmas crackers try this breathing technique and you'll soon be floating on a profiterole cloud.
Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Switch off all background noises and make sure you won’t be disturbed.
This need only take 10 minutes.
Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Imagine you are surfing the waves of your breath as it flows through your nostrils, your throat, your lungs and abdomen.
Say to yourself: ‘I breathe in peace’ and as you exhale, ‘I breathe out tension.’
A cottage in the snow meditation is also a great way to ‘chill out’ and relax.
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Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year from Still Calm!