4 Steps to a Calmer Christmas

For many the time leading up to the festive season is filled with rushing around attending parties, buying gifts and food, visiting relatives and of course, battling whichever bug is currently circulating. This can leave us feeling less than calm, as we try to navigate our way through December in a sleep deprived and anxious state. But is there a better way? Is there a way we can complete all of things we must get done and still have time for ourselves? Read on to find out more.

Santa does yoga

Doing it all

During December it can feel that we are being pulled in all directions, between family demands, obligatory work parties and the endless shopping lists. This leaves little time or energy for ourselves, and a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion. Often the first thing to go is looking after our own health, including skipping the gym or that yoga class you love.

In yogic terms this relates to the Yama of Brahmacharya, conservation of energy. By running ourselves ragged, we are not giving the best of ourselves to any task or to anyone we meet.

Fix it – take a night off! Allocate yourself one hour per week (we can all find a bit of time if we really tried) and do something just for you. That could be taking a relaxing soak with Epsom salts and lavender to help ease tired muscles; reading a book or magazine; or getting to the gym, even if you just walk on the treadmill for a bit.

Healthy Eating

‘The diet starts in January.’ How many of us have uttered those words as we tuck into yet another festive goodie? Why do we feel the need to indulge so much over the holidays, that we then feel so guilty and restrict our food intake come the New Year?

Fix it – stop dieting and start eating with more consideration for your wellbeing. This doesn’t mean missing out on mince pies and mulled wine, but it does mean making different choices throughout the party season. Balance is the key, and eating healthily 80% of the time allows for the odd hot chocolate. You may even enjoy these treats more if you’re not over-indulging every day.

Top Tip – Start each day with a cup of warm water, juice of ½ lemon, a few slices of ginger and a teaspoon of honey. This will help ward off the winter bugs, but also give your system a boost first thing in the morning. Add an extra shot of goodness by adding a bashed sprig of rosemary to the infusion.

Baby it’s cold outside

As the temperatures drop, we spend more time indoors with the heating on wishing our lives away until summer. But getting outside for even 10 minutes a day can help keep the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at bay. While summer seems like a distant memory, and the days become an endless array of wet, wild and windy it can be easy to feel low and grumpy.

Fix it – A short walk during your lunch break will help to brighten your complexion and improve your mood. Making this a regular part of your winter routine, will help to ensure reset our internal chronometer and to keep everything working in tip-top condition. The cold, fresh air will reinvigorate you and help you to clear your head. This could be an excellent opportunity to get some peace and quiet, even for a short space of time.

And sleep…

You probably feel like you could sleep for a week, but when your head hits the pillow sleep is the furthest thing from your mind. As To Do lists and worries invade your tranquillity, the need for a restful night’s sleep is more important. Not only will it help to regulate your mood and appetite, but it will leave you feeling ready to fight another day.

Fix it – There are some excellent products out there designed to help you drop off in a natural way. Having a bedtime routine is the best place to start, this way your mind and body can prepare to rest and relax. A bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender will help to induce a feeling of relaxation and prepare you for a good night’s rest. Using a pillow spray such as the one from This Works gives an instant aromatherapy boost of relaxing goodness. Finally listen to a guided meditation app designed to help you sleep and relax, I recommend Andrew Johnson apps to everyone I meet.

These hints should give you a start towards feeling more in control over the festive season, and hopefully help you to enjoy spending time with your family and friends. If all else fails, find a quiet place to roll out your yoga mat and flow through some slow Sun Salutations – there’s not much a bit of yoga can’t fix!