As we head quickly into Christmas, it’s easy to become swept up in the need to provide a perfect Christmas for those around us. We are bombarded with images of elaborate elf antics, picture-perfect Santa visits, magazine-worthy Christmas trees, matching pjs, the best presents and a list of Christmas traditions to enact.
While there is nothing wrong with finding joy in any of these activities and moments, they can easily add to our stress levels and impact our well-being in the run-up to Christmas. Here’s 5 ways to help maintain some calm and find the joy again.
1. Recognise when you are in comparison mode.
Naturally, we are interested in what’s going on around us and what others are doing. It’s in our nature to feel the need to fit in so we can feel more drawn to following what others are doing. However, we are often looking at ‘the best bits’ snippets of people’s lives and trying to recreate them, then when we bump into the normal struggles of life, we can be left feeling like we don’t quite match up. So take a moment to recognise when you are comparing your every day to someone’s best moment, then switch your focus to the best moment for you that day.
2. Take time out.
It can feel counter-intuitive to take time out when we are busy, but we need breaks. Our brains need downtime; however, the brain isn’t actually resting in downtime. When we allow our brain time to wander its actually really busy organising, sorting and often connecting the dots, it needs time to do this without us consciously giving it more tasks. So go for a walk, take a shower, have a cuppa, read a few pages of a book, find the things you can do even if it’s just for a few minutes to give your brain a break.
3. Write a list.
Every time something pops into your head that needs to be done write it down on a list. When it’s wrote down it’s easier to organise and prioritise it. When we are trying to hold everything in our brains, we struggle to prioritise and decide on its importance – everything starts to feel ‘most important’. So, write it down and then pick the thing that needs to be done first.
4. Move your body.
We are designed to move, but modern living often takes away natural opportunities to move our bodies (online shopping, electrical appliances, cars). So we have to be intentional in making sure we are moving and exercising our bodies everyday. Find the ways that work for you and try to build them in everyday, until it becomes a habit like brushing our teeth.
It’s easy for our sleep to be impacted in the run up to Christmas, but try to keep the boundaries around it. Build in good sleep habits like winding down for bed (devices off, warm baths, cool rooms etc). Its particularly important in the winter to try to get out in the daylight as soon as you can in a morning. It helps set our natural rhythms and sleep patterns.
Remember to bring it back to what you and those around you need. We are all so different and it’s ok to focus on what works best for us, I hope these tips allow you to find some calm in this period and if you’d like an extra boost head over to: https://www.vickyhaig.co.uk/try-relaxation/ where you can listen to my relaxation track for free, just make sure you are in a quiet calm place where you’re not having to do anything else, but relax.