Your stress levels have probably already increased to a 9/10, as you think of last minute jobs that need to get done; shopping for this event or that and presents for so and so...
It’s supposed to be fun – isn’t that what you’re told?
Instead though it usually turns out to be a blur of high expectations, dashing from one place to another, spending vast amounts of money on a moment’s gratification or inducing smiles in others, hiding a growing waistline and nursing a battered liver and all ending with the deep longing to hibernate through January.
Phew - I’m exhausted just writing about it!
No, I’m not suggesting being a scrooge and bah humbug to everyone.
It can be fun if you know how to survive it with grace and so that once it’s over you don’t fall into the deep post celebration blues of January.
It’s all about making things a little simpler, easing your way through it and coming out the other side unscathed. I’m not here to talk about minimalist shopping, as it’s probably too late for that anyway.
My aim is to help you calm down, slow down and actually enjoy the whole experience, with just a few little pointers.
1. Take some down-time
Let’s be frank; this time of year is stressful. Stress is not always bad though, as a good rollercoaster will show you or an active night in the sack with a hottie.
We can cope with quite a lot, but we do need downtime to calm our nerves. Make sure to have at least half an hour alone-time every day during the holidays; no jobs, just relaxation. Sleeping doesn’t count.
Simple, quiet moments with no determined outcome or need for productivity.
Just switch off.
Read a book, listen to music, potter, meditate...basically do anything that gives you some space for YOU time.
2. Don’t stop doing exercise
One of reasons we get so wound up over the holiday season is because we radically alter our diets and most of us (hands up if this is you – yes me included) suddenly increase our intake of sugar – found in alcohol, chocolate, cakes, sweets, in our drinks etc.
Sugar makes us ‘high as a kite’ as my mum used to say. You only have to watch a young child after they had sugar and you will know the real effects it has on our bodies.
By the time we are adults we can generally cope and adjust to the brief alteration, as long as we are not sedentary. So make sure to do some reasonable exercise at least half an hour everyday to burn it off. Go for a walk, run, take the dog out, have fun with the hottie in the sack.
3. Breathe and count to 10
This is simple, but effective. An oldie, but a goodie for a reason. Holiday season means family and families often means getting close with people you love, but who are also very different to you.
Any group of adults in close proximity for a length of time can cause friction, but make that your family who have opinions about you, know you, or think they do and it won’t take long until you might find yourself irritated.
There is nothing wrong, it is just human nature. Both #2 and #1 above can help, but at those moments when you can’t get away try holding your breath and count to 10 or deep breath and count to 10 whichever suits, so that you let the irritation pass and the next family battle can be avoided.
Basic fact of human beings, without enough sleep we get ratty. The more sugar we put in our bodies, the more hyper we are and the less we can sleep. So acknowledging that you need sleep, but also that this time of year if you’re lucky means parties to later than usual.
Try to balance your social nights out, embrace the siesta or afternoon cat nap. Help yourself calm down using the above suggestions and also use a good bedtime soothing routine.
Try to slow everything down a good half an hour before bed, no TV etc, listen to some gentle music if need be. Silence is golden. Have a mindless book to read in bed and let your mind switch off.
5. Drink as much as you can
No I’m not advocating getting totally sloshed as a way to survive the holiday season, it’s a tried and tested method by many, but sadly the guaranteed outcome is always the heavy downer in January.
What I’m talking about is WATER.
Not water in tea or coffee or juice. I’m talking about plain and simple WATER. Yes, it can be flavored.
One of the main factors for feeling like total rubbish after the holiday season is that we are both dehydrated and out of balance.
Without enough WATER our bodies cannot flush out all the toxins we put in it as a result of our lovely indulgences.
So your body becomes overwhelmed and very soon we end up feeling heavy, full, down, sad and often can swing into beating ourselves up for over doing it, putting on weight all because we feel full of crap – toxins!
So make sure to get plenty and I mean plenty of water down every day to balance out the alcohol and the sugar and give your body a chance to do its thing and get clearing.
Remember, we can cope with a lot
But instead of waiting to see how much that is by going too far, just help yourself along this holiday season and then you can both enjoy it, have fun and not feel like crap at the end of it.