I have been a holistic health practitioner for over 15 years, and throughout this period have acquired some amazing tools and strategies for managing my stress, but despite having all this at my fingertips, I too am human and as susceptible to feeling overwhelmed and anxious as you are.
Christmas can be one of those times, bringing both stress and joy in equal measure. It can be a time of great fun and celebration, spent relaxing and rejuvenating, spending time with loved ones and catching up with friends.
On the other hand, the festive season can be more stressful than joyful. It can become a 2-week marathon testing ones physical, mental and emotional endurance and stamina, often leaving the body and mind in need of a holiday to recover from the holiday.
I’ve spent many a Christmas feeling obligated and divided, between how long and with whom I think I should be spending time, whilst others endure feelings of great loneliness and separation. Both experiences often lead to an unhealthy over indulgence of food and alcohol to fill the void, or mask the discomfort of our situation with short-lived pleasures.
So, what are the top 3 tips to creating an experience of ‘Festive Health’ and a ‘Stress Free’ time this holiday season?
My first tip is to get clear on what you wish to experience this holiday. Set your intentions and check in with your self-daily as to whether your choices are supporting your intentions. Write a list of the things which would make your heart sing if you spent time doing them through the holidays.
- It might be to read those books still sitting beside your bed.
- Enjoying a daily afternoon nap.
- Catching up with friends you haven’t had time to see throughout the year.
- Spending time in nature, walking or swimming.
Whatever resonates with you, making a list will help you make these special things a priority.
Our ego is well trained in creating any number of justifiable distractions to keep you from valuing and meeting your own needs first.
My second tip is to meet your needs before your wants.
This will help you to create balance and harmony in all your choices. You can manage the temptation to over indulge by making sure you meet your body’s basic physical needs first before your wants.
When I meet my body’s basic needs of enough quality water, quality unprocessed food, daily movement, rest and quiet time then I find my wants and desires can be easily managed.
When I’m well hydrated, nourished with wholesome food and I allow myself time to rest, I’m less likely to crave sugar, processed food, coffee and alcohol.
Often our normal rhythms and routines are lost in the busyness of the holiday season, leaving us susceptible to increased cravings for what ever your weakness is, and before you know it the scales have tipped the other way and February becomes the month of regret!
A few practical examples of meeting your body’s basic needs are:
- Start the day with a breakfast that consists of all three macronutrients, Proteins, fats and carbohydrates to balance blood sugar levels during the day. A good example are eggs (cooked to your liking) with some sautéed mushrooms and steamed vegetables.
- Drink half your body weight in water by following this formula: 0.033 x (your body weight in) kg = litres required per day
- Go for a walk or exercise during the day to support your metabolism and circulation.
- Honor yourself with some quiet time just you, you don’t have to meditate, a walk alone in nature can quiet the monkey chatter and bring you back into you.
- Avoid drinking on an empty stomach, have a piece of cheese or raw nuts before hand and have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink
My final tip is to value YOU time i.e. equal time with you as with others.
Feeling obligated and divided in how and with whom you wish to spend your time, can quickly and easily create stress and anxiety. Don’t over commit yourself and you won’t disappoint yourself or anyone else by under delivering.
Taking time out to give back to yourself is the most effective and empowering way to provide yourself with the energy to give back to others, even those you find more challenging to be around.
So why not this holiday season focus on meeting your basic physical needs first, along with enough quiet time, so you stay aligned to your intentions for a healthy stress free festive holiday season.