Let’s face it – we all know that Christmas can be a stressful time of year.
There is often a cocktail of issues such as:
- family dynamics; where new or old dramas play out, or we all just try to get along but rarely succeed
- health challenges; how much do I drink and eat before I gain weight or feel sick, why can’t I say no to that extra piece if pudding?
- money stress; the budget often gets stretched in ways we didn’t anticipate or there isn’t as much as we need for festive celebrations.
As a self-care + happiness coach, my primary desire is giving you enough tools (mentally, emotionally, physically) to manage, overcome and ideally escape un-necessary stresses in your life.
So what can you do at this time of year when sometimes, it can just seem all too much?
Here are my four top tips and what I personally practice for my own self-care
Give yourself permission to say no
Getting caught up in the pressure of everyone else’s expectations is key part of why Christmas is commonly a stressful time in first world countries. We want our parents and grandparents to be happy, our relatives to be happy, our kids to be satisfied with their gifts, and we want to do whatever we can to take pressure off ourselves – which usually means making everyone else happy first.
What if you gave yourself permission to say no when it really mattered to you? It could be no to the extra glass of wine or piece of dessert, or it could be just saying that you need space to be alone instead of socialising for a few minutes.
Everyone likes a yes man, but does everyone respect him? As women we are very often conditioned to say yes, be polite and do the right or appropriate thing, but when this is done to our own detriment I say ENOUGH.
Give yourself permission to say no to small things (that Christmas part you don’t want to go to), or big things (over-spending on gifts out of obligation).
You will love how much freer you feel just through this simple act of NO and remember, no-one else can stand up for whats right for you, except you.
Aim for quality over quantity;
In the spirit of saying yes all the time, it can be easy to forget you may need some down time, quiet time with you husband or kids, or even along time for yourself to take a nap or walk.
The easiest way I know to do this is to always under schedule your commitments – instead of running from one place to another every few hours – and aim for a better quality of social interaction, instead of lots and lots of events.
Quality time with friends that is not rushed or hurried for two- four hours means more to me personally, than cramming in four one hour visits in day.
This means choosing quality over quantity. Often one social event per day is enough in the silly season – especially if you have kids – and I would recommend a maximum of two events per day to make it easier and more enjoyable for all of you.
Drink more water
The easiest way to prevent over-eating is to be well hydrated on good quality water, and to reach for water before food.
Aside from oxygen, water is the primary thing our body needs to function, so being well hydrated will also help with recovery, flushing toxins out of the body, and your entire system can then work more optimally. Not to mention clearing your head in times of family stress!
If you are thinking about eating another portion or a dessert, make yourself have at-least one glass of water first. If you want to have more alcohol that’s fine, but ensure you are well hydrated before-hand, and aim to have a glass of water after each glass of wine.
Most of us can easily drink more water, it is simply about creating the habit of reaching for it before drinking anything else. If you need a change in flavour on occasion, feel free to add a squeeze of lemon, lime juice, and frozen slices of other fruits like pineapple, orange or kiwifruit can also be lovely.
Listen to your body
Your body will tell you when it’s full or had enough, if only you just listen to it!
A simple way to do this is wait 20 minutes after eating and see if you really need more. Often once the food hits your belly, you will realise you are more than satisfied.
Let your body tell you when enough it enough, with food, alcohol. Often we only need to get quiet and still for a few minutes to tune-in and find out what our body really has to say.
In conclusion, please remember that self-care is all about listening to your own needs, giving yourself permission to do what’s right for you, and feeling good about the choices that you make.
By living in accordance with these simple principles you may be surprised to find how much easier the concept of self care can become.
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based coach + therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy + birth, motherhood + beyond. She is also aHypnoBirthing® practitioner + personal renewal facilitator. She coaches women across a wide range of areas, runs restorative + self-care retreats, and has a range of and hypnosis downloads available on iTunes. Read more about Bree here.