Self-care for the Christmas holidays
Christmas is a wonderful time for connecting with family and friends, but it can also be a busy time as we have to juggle the demands and expectations of those around us. How can you navigate this time with a little more ease and grace, and a little less stress and strain?
Here are 5 simple steps for letting go of stress this Christmas.
1. Acknowledge that you cannot please all the people all of the time. So much of our stress at this time of year is to do with managing expectations both for ourselves and for others. If you are going to keep parents, extended family, friends and partners all satisfied it’s going to leave little room for you, so accepting that there will be difficult choices and compromises to be made is step 1 in finding a little more space for yourself this holiday.
2. Try not to over-schedule. There is a temptation to cram it all in, friends, family, the work Christmas party, walking the dog, entertaining the kids, and all their friends too... Stop! Over-stretching yourself will just lead to mental and physical exhaustion, not to mention resenting the things you do. Trim it down, edit your to-do list, and if you can, simplify, simplify, simplify.
3. Let go of the idea of a perfect Christmas, so this should probably follow number 1, but if you look at adverts on the TV, pages in magazines or Facebook there is an idea of how Christmas should look. Let that go! Find a celebration that works for you, however imperfect, messy and fun that looks.
4. Practice being more conscious and deliberate around technology. So much of our time and energy is taken up by the mindless scrolling, it can lead to frustration, serious time-suckage, and self criticism, so be aware and be more mindful about your time online or in front of the TV. If you find it hard, set a timer. You will feel better about being more intentional with your day.
5. Do healthy activities with your favourite people. So this is the time of year when your diligent yoga / fitness / health regime goes right out the window along with the rest of your routine, so rather than feel frustration at what you aren’t doing, get your walking shoes on and take advantage of where we live with the people you love. (Tip: Leave your phone at home).
6. Be a little kinder to yourself, don’t judge that extra mince pie or glass of Prosecco. If you’re going to do it, then enjoy it with a full heart. Life is too short to add guilt to the long list of things you’re already carrying.
7. Make time for a 5 minute breather. So if you can’t make time for a full class at the studio or at home you could do 3 slow rounds of a gentle sun salutations, alternatively if you find you’re struggling with stress and anxiety and are short on time take yourself somewhere quiet for 5 minutes. If you’re in a busy house you could take a walk around the block. Slow your breathing, be aware of how your body feels, notice where you can feel the stress in your body, soften and then follow the breath, even label it; breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out. As thoughts come up you can try a technique from meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg and label those thoughts as ‘not breath’. Be kind, don’t judge, just breathe.
8. Find time for gratitude. Sometimes the old ones are the best, and this one is simple but effective. Take 2/3 mindful breaths and feel the gratitude for something in your life whatever that looks like for you.
To ease you into the holidays I’ll be running a Self-care for Women workshop on the 9th of December with life-coach Gemma Sands, this is a really practical afternoon full of gentle yoga, mindfulness, essential oils and more. To find out more visit the website
And you can also join me every month for Rest and Relax at the Reach, a deep holistic relaxation experience for mind and body, see the website for dates.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas. Amy x