Posted on December 05, 2018 by Josh Puttock
As it seems to do every year, Christmas has crept up on us suddenly and now is just around the corner. As exciting as this time of year can be – with the festive parties, family dinners and work drinks – the most wonderful time of the year can often turn into the most stressful time of the year!
This is the time of year when we should be able to wind down, relax and enjoy the festive period, but in reality December tends to be the month where you can’t get a quiet day to yourself and festive tasks and to-do lists mount day-by-day. It’s harder to keep active and this can lead to the build-up of stress.
As much as this period can be stressful, you want to enjoy this time of year so here are some top health tips on how to stay calm and stress-free over the Christmas period.
How To Stay Stress-Free Over Christmas
As fun as it may be having your diary jam-packed with outings, you want to make sure you’re not burning the candle at both ends. Meditation is an excellent way to quieten your mind and help relieve stress.
Spend five minutes each day observing your breathing. Just by keeping the mind focused on your breath moving in, through, and out of your body can leave your mind relaxed and at ease, and ready to enjoy the seasonal activities!
Deep Breathing Exercises
This time of the year, it always seems there is so much going on you can barely take a moment to stop and breathe. But you should! Practicing deep breathing exercises are perfect to relieve stress, especially when your calendar is as full as it is around Christmas!
Deep breathing relaxes the body so have a go at the ‘So’ – ‘Hum’ exercise. This exercise involves breathing in for a count of five, saying in your mind ‘So’, and then breathing out an equal count saying in your mind ‘Hum’.
Just taking a few minutes each day doing some deep breathing exercises can transform your mind and leave you at able to face your hectic winter calendar!
The festive period is one of the best times of the year to get some time off so it makes sense to use the time wisely and rest well. Lack of sleep can make you feel irritable and more prone to feeling stressed.
But Christmas tends to means early mornings and late nights, especially if young ones are involved – so your normal sleep routine may well be impacted. As hard as it may be, make sure you keep some time to look after yourself and get those extra hours in bed.
Eating lots of rich foods and drinking alcohol can also disturb your sleep so while you should enjoy your Christmas parties, you should also make sure you’re getting enough rest!
Make Time for Exercise
Christmas is, for many, a time of excessive eating and drinking, which can inevitably mean exercise can be easily overlooked. Everyone seems to have these few weeks where exercise doesn’t even come into the mind as diets and gym memberships are put on hold till the New Year.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress as working out helps your immune system and boosts endorphins, helping you sleep better and easing stress. Even if you’re going to take a bit of a break from exercise, still try going for the occasional walk as the fresh air and exercise will lift your mood and make you feel better.
Doing a bit of exercise is also a great way to get some peace from relatives and also means you don’t need to feel as guilty should you find yourself eating a few extra Quality Street.
The Christmas period brings with a whole new selection of festive drinks, from hot chocolates to gingerbread lattes. As delicious as they may be, alternative hot drinks such as herbal teas are much better in terms of relaxing you and keeping you stress-free.
Chamomile tea is one such alternative, helping to calm nerves and acting as an extremely mild sedative, leaving you much more at ease. Herbal teas are also excellent immune system boosters, packed with antioxidants and vitamins so will also help to keep you physically well.
There is nothing wrong at all with enjoying the occasional festive hot chocolate: just remember that a chamomile tea will leave you much more relaxed around this hectic time of year.
By Charlie Casey