Christmas rush anyone?
The goal is simple. Clear the inbox, clear the desk! Oh, and squeeze in the parties, the shopping, the Christmas concerts and clean the house before the family descend…
How is your ‘to do’ list looking?
As we march on into the final countdown, here are some tips and tricks for managing the ‘silly season’ to keep you in tip top shape to make the most of the holiday period:
What are you noticing as you run around ticking everything off?
- Tight shoulders?
- Hung over?
- Clenched jaw, grinding teeth?
- Short fuse?
Take a moment to check in with yourself. What are you noticing? Your body has a way of telling you to slow down. Try to listen! Sustained stress is not a good thing for body or mind and it can lead to illness. So, it is important to practice tuning in.
Sometimes, we can be so stressed, for so long, that we no longer see the signs.
Slowing down and tuning in
The easiest way to slow down and pay attention is to follow the breath.
Commit to pausing during your day for a couple deep breaths. Nothing too difficult. Just stop and turn your attention inwards for a couple of seconds. Breath in and out. You can do this almost anywhere! There are plenty of short exercises, meditations and apps that can help you with this, but the important thing is to make your practise regular, and commit to it. It is the small things done often that can make a difference!
Once you have developed a regular practise of slowing down and tuning in you may find that you’ve been holding tension throughout your body, or that you haven’t taken a deep breath for years! Perhaps you are holding stress in your gut (which is very common), or you are more tired than you realised.
Noticing is the first step. Then you can begin to anticipate stress and learn to manage it.
Relaxation, rest and better sleep
A recent report found that inadequate sleep is common in Australia with an estimated 39.8% of Australian adults reporting some form of inadequate sleep. Poor sleep has a profound impact on our body and our mind. Fatigue can lead to accidents, is a major factor in poor performance and can damage both our physical and mental health.
There are many steps you can take to improve your sleep. Establishing a bed-time routine helps. As does switching off backlit devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Maybe buy an alarm clock instead of using your phone?
Spend the hour before bed trying to rest and relax, whether with music, a book, a hobby, a bath or some gentle pre-sleep stretches and yoga.
Make a habit of it
Relaxation is not something most of us easily default to and therefore we need to make a conscious effort to allow our bodies and mind to relax.
Regular breathing practise is a great place to start, but adding regular calming activities and relaxation into your daily routines is even better. Think about what you spend time on in your day. Are there moments in the day you could be using more wisely?
The holiday season is often about giving—gifts, time, energy. As much as giving is itself a gift, it can also be a source of stress.
Managing giving is about knowing your boundaries. During this time, you may find that you are stretched too thin; perhaps it’s too many functions and late nights, or one too many trips to the shops. Whatever it is, it is good to pause and reflect about where you draw the line.
Sometimes it’s about managing your energy rather than your time! Try to take time this week to think about what you can afford to give, emotionally and energetically.
Consider ways to stick to your limits. You may have to be creative here! Once the New Year rolls around you’ll feel better for creating boundaries that work for you.