Staying Well during the Festive Season
If your schedule is anything like mine, it’s already starting to fill up with end-of-year functions, Christmas parties and shopping lists. Do you feel your stress levels rising? Your alcohol consumption increasing? You meal-sizes expanding?
The festive season is a high-risk time for our wellness discipline to go out the window, replaced by bad habits and quick-fixes that leave us feeling tired, heavy, unmotivated and anxious – not a great way to feel when you’re trying to be festive!
So, in preparation for this special time of year, I thought I would share some simple tips for staying on-track with your health and optimising your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Tip #1 – Get to bed early and sleep for 6-7 hours most nights
Sleep is often compromised by late nights during the festive season. When we are sleep deprived, every system in our body slows down and functions less effectively. Good quality sleep is essential for repairing and maintaining the cells in our body and without it, every cell suffers. During the festive season, it can be tempting to stay up partying, finishing work to make a deadline or cleaning the house, but I promise you that the flow-on effects the next day, and even for the next week, will have a negative impact on your productivity and wellbeing. Prioritise sleep and your body and mind will thank you for it!
Tip #2 – Start the day by setting an intention to make healthy choices
Intention setting is a powerful way of keeping yourself on-track when there are numerous temptations seducing you off-track. Starting the day with some quiet time to reflect on the previous day and contemplate your intentions for the day ahead can be an effective way of staying grounded and honouring your wellness goals. You could listen to a guided meditation, choose to repeat a mantra or write your intentions down in your journal. Choose a technique that feels good to you or experiment with different methods and see what works.
Tip #3 – Keep up your water intake
It’s very easy to forget about drinking enough water when you’re busy working, socialising and drinking alcohol during the festive season. One great way to ensure you keep your water intake up is to have a big glass of water, maybe with a dash of lime, first thing after you’ve set your intentions for the day each morning. Then don’t forget to take your water bottle (stainless steel, not plastic!!) with you when you head out and remember to take regular sips throughout the day. You could even set a few “drink water” reminders in your phone so you don’t forget.
Tip #4 – Organise some physical activity as a social outing
Finding time to exercise during the festive season can be a challenge. Rather than putting it off until after the festive season is over, try scheduling some time to exercise while socialising. Book in a “walk + chat“ with a friend you have been meaning to catch up with all year, or organise a "yoga + coffee" session with a group. Keeping your body moving is a great way to burn off those extra calories that we inevitably consume around this time of year and also produces the feel-good neurotransmitters that lift our mood and energy levels.
Tip #5 – Get out in nature
Spending time in a nature is a fantastic way to ground and recharge, especially when we’ve been busy Christmas shopping or spending time around lots of people at festive functions. Seeking some solitude at the beach or in the bush allows our mind to settle and our body to relax and absorb the healing effects of nature. Take some deep breaths of fresh air and walk bare-feet on the earth. Allow the peace and tranquillity to infuse your being and appreciate the present moment.
Tip #6 – Practice gratitude
It’s easy to get distracted by the to-do lists, the unmet expectations and the family conflicts that can arise during the festive season. A great way to counteract these diversions is with a daily gratitude practice. Putting aside a moment at the end of each day to reflect on who and what you feel grateful for can lift your mood and energy levels significantly, preparing you for a better night’s sleep. You might like to keep a gratitude journal, or send a message to a gratitude buddy. Personally, I find this to be an essential and rewarding part of my daily routine, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or depressed during the festive season.
Tip #7 – Breathe
Getting caught up in the busy-ness of the festive season can mean that we literally forget about the importance of breathing. When we feel stressed and anxious, our breath becomes short and shallow, meaning we have less access to oxygen, which causes us to feel tired and unmotivated. It’s important to pause regularly throughout the day and consciously take notice of our breath, taking in three long, deep, energising breaths, then returning to what we were doing. I recommend setting some reminders in your phone so you don’t forget!
I hope you find these simple tips useful and easy to implement into your day during the festive season. Consider writing them on a sticky note and putting them on your fridge, or saving them as your screen saver on your computer so you are reminded of them each day.
Wishing you a peaceful and healthy festive season, full of joy and gratitude.