2021 has been a little challenging to say the least, and as we move out of lockdowns it’s easy to head into the Christmas season in a whirl of socialising that we have missed out on, to hit the shops again with an eagerness that could lead to overspending, and maybe just a little bit too much Christmas cheer that could lead you to feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and out of balance.
However, with a few simple tips, you can navigate this period more mindfully, reduce the stress around the busyness, financial pressure and overindulgence, and come through the Christmas season feeling calm and enjoying the company of your friends and family with more presence.
You don’t need to say yes, and go to everything on the social calendar, especially as our nervous systems are still getting used to being back out in the world again.
It’s important to get some rest as well during this period, so you don’t arrive at Christmas Day, with nothing left to give, because you’ve been so over extended.
It’s a busy time, and people are usually understanding when you can’t make something.
It’s a good opportunity to think of the people that do lift you up and make you happy, and lean towards time with them, rather than things you feel obliged to turn up to.
Choose wisely with your time, so you can be generous with your energy at the events you do go to.
A little indulgence can be good for the soul, as it can be such a pleasure to enjoy these times with our colleagues, friends and families, especially after such a long time when we’ve been isolated from each other.
However, sometimes it can slip into one big excuse to let caution fly to the wind and drink and eat everything in sight.
Rather than having to deprive yourself of the experience, or turn it down, after all this is a time to be enjoyed, take it slowly and mindfully taste what you’re eating and drinking.
Be aware when your glass is getting topped up again, and eat that pudding, savouring each mouthful with enjoyment. This way you also get the full experience of the moment, and you begin to notice your own internal cues when you’ve reached your limit.
When you eat and drink mindfully, you become aware when you’re full, and likely to feel satiated, rather than needing more.
And don’t beat yourself up too much if you slip into over indulgence, that just increases your stress, and makes it even more likely to over indulge the next time. Remember tomorrow is a new day, and you can just begin again.
Christmas is a time where gifts joyfully received in the moment can be discarded not long after they’re given, and awareness of sustainability is important so that we’re not impacting the environment
How about giving an experience, like tickets to a show, a well-deserved massage, a visit to a local winery for lunch, or even a gift for your loved one to learn something new?
Or your family could consider doing a Kris Kringle, so that each person receives one gift for an agreed value.
This also helps the pocket, not leaving you extended financially; and it means you’re not stressfully racing around for last minute gifts and fighting through the Christmas shopping crowds for hours on end.
When you do buy, do your best to be conscious of buying ethically, sustainably and locally, you may even like to give the gift of calm with some EpZen magnesium bath salts.
Christmas can often bring up what’s missing in our lives, and gratitude is about remembering all the things you do have, and now has never been a better time to get a practice going.
Write down 3 things you are grateful for everyday, particularly in the lead up to Christmas. It’s been scientifically proven to help you feel less stressed, calmer and happier when you feel that appreciation.
Remember, there will always be someone with more, or less, than you, so take the time to grateful for all the wonderful things that are in your life right now.
It can be a period of the year where tensions can sometimes run a little high, and if you feel any frustration or tension come up, take some deep breaths into the belly, so you can see the situation with less reactivity.
You might like to use the STOP acronym. Stop, Take A Breath, Observe, Proceed Mindfully.
Even with family members and friends that might appear a bit annoying in the moment, we may not be aware of what is going on for them underneath the surface, so approach with kindness and compassion.
It’s a good time to remember that ‘just like me, everyone wants to be happy and loved’.
Mindfully practice patience, and acceptance, with your family and friends when you feel a little frazzled, remember “presence over presents”, and most of all cherish the time you do have with the important people in your life.
Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2022.