Feeling extreme Christmas chaos? Read our 10 tips to keep yourself balanced this festive season…
Ahhhh, Christmas! One of my absolute FAVOURITE times of year – not least because it’s the time where everyone gets together and celebrates, but it also just so happens to be my Birthday too!
I’ve spent much of my life swinging between ‘all and nothing:’ in my thoughts, in my work life, in my personal life – which is an ‘insight’ I had recently (see my previous blog post for more on ‘insights’). I’d go from running around at 100mph, to crashing and burning with tiredness, unable to do anything, and I’d naturally assume that everything either ‘was’ or it ‘wasn’t’ – there was no grey or in-between. It’s really interesting when you think about how this ‘pattern’ of ‘extremes’ might have been shaped from childhood and life experience; even in the way that I wait all year to celebrate absolutely everything exciting on just one day! In fact, it’s almost a product of Western society; we like to build up to this one day for at least 4 months in advance, and then come January it’s all over, we have no money left, we’re exhausted from all the over-work and we start to feel a bit gloomy!
Well, December 25th is an exciting day; but, for some people, including me, the lead up can be a strain on your wellbeing unless you mindfully keep it under control! Because I tend to get so over-excited by the time ‘Merry Birthmas’ arrives, I end up exhausted, both from emotion and overdoing everything! So, how can we prevent this strain on the adrenals (the glands responsible for hormones that help us manage stress) that is so common for many at this time of year?
Of course, these days, I have developed habits to help me stay healthy! So, if you’re rushing round like a headless turkey trying to prepare for this year’s Season’s Greetings, and you’re feeling stressed about buying and wrapping all the presents, decorating the tree, making sure everything is ready for guests to arrive, preparing food, and the rest of the Christmas ‘To Do’ list, read on for my advice for how to keep yourself calm this party season…
1) Essential Oils: Smell Like Christmas, Feel More Balanced!
The great thing about essential oils is obviously their therapeutic effect, but because our sense of smell is so well-linked to our memory, we can also use essential oils to remind us of the time of year season with certain scents. This means we can feel Christmassy in advance just by using essential oils – and better still we can use them for calming ourselves.
Popular Christmas essential oils include:
- Pine Needle
- Sweet Orange
For a calming approach to relaxation this season, whenever you’re feeling the strain, diffuse 3 drops of Mandarin, 3 drops Frankincense and 3 drops Myrrh mixed with water in an electrical diffuser or candle burner– these oils are meditative and relaxing for the nervous system. You could also try a lovely blend of up to 8 drops (total) of Pine Needle (great for nervous exhaustion) and Sweet Orange in a bowl of Himalayan Salts to scent the room. Some of the oils – like Cinnamon – can be more stimulating so if you want to scent the room with these, just know that their therapeutic effects are better in the morning – Cinnamon is virtually Christmas in a bottle, though!
For some real relaxation when you’re really exhausted, try a lovely Aromatherapy treatment bath, mixing 2 drops Rose, 2 drops Geranium and 2 drops Ylang Ylang into half a cup of full fat milk and adding it to your bath, doing some nice deep breathing. Great before bed!
2) Stay Mindful and Present: Meditate Your Way Through
If nothing else, it’s important to stay in the moment and take some time for you. It might the ‘season of giving’ but, if you’re feeling stressed my guess is that you’re giving too much for what you can cope with, and that’s really lovely of you, but SAVE YOURSELF! If you don’t look after you, no one else will, and you won’t be able to help others if you’re ill yourself. So, find even 15 minutes, and do something you enjoy for you. Whether that be meditation, yoga, having a cup of tea, journaling or whatever you enjoy – go and do it now!
3) Ground Yourself: Volunteer
Whilst it might seem daft to say go and add another task to your list in a period where your schedule is already fit to burst, it can be really grounding to help others, and it also makes you realise your priorities. There are some people much less fortunate than ourselves, who may not have any company this Christmas – why not go and cheer someone else up and make their Christmas a little bit happier? It’ll probably give you a warm winter glow.
4) Find Insights: Journal
How do you feel? What can be interesting is identifying where the ‘pushing yourself’ mentality came from. Is it because you think Christmas has to be perfect? Is this because films portray Christmas as such a perfect family time? Is it because you always had – or didn’t have – a perfect family Christmas in childhood? Is it because you are so caught up in the usual routine that you can’t step outside of it? Is it that you always push yourself? What is it? Are the thoughts that are driving you to work so hard actually true or are they just thoughts, in that moment? Journal it, and let it go. See how you can just enjoy Christmas season without all your thoughts getting in the way.
5) Let Go of Expectation: Drop Your Standards
So, you might have established that your expectations are super-high, but you can let go of that. If there’s something on your ‘to-do’ list that can’t get done, drop it! No one gets everything done, and it’s not worth imbalancing your health to achieve it. Likewise, if you can’t afford it and you’re worried about money, don’t over-extend your budget and leave yourself worrying about it in January. What is the spirit of Christmas? Remember that…
6) Share: Family & Friends
If you’re feeling stressed, try and talk to family and friends. They are more than likely feeling the same. Don’t keep it all in! Ask for help when it’s needed too.
7) Trust, Let Go and Affirm: You Can’t Control Everything – And That’s Okay!
This one can be difficult because I know I have taken a long time to get my head around this one, but – give yourself permission to let go of the situation. You can’t control everything and everything is working out as it should be. The universe has a plan for you and all will be well. Repeat this affirmation to yourself several times a day if it helps: “I am safe, all is well.” Trust.
8) Nutrition: Eat Healthily and Drink Plenty
It’s so tempting to start dipping into Christmas treats on the lead up – those who know me will know I’ve probably eaten their chocolate gifts and had to re-buy them at least once before they get them! But, the better we can maintain our diet and limit alcohol to stay hydrated, the better we can cope with the festivities (and probably the more we’ll appreciate them when they’re here!).
9) Sleep: Get Enough of It!
Make sure you’re sleeping. This one is important. If you’re worrying and have a million thoughts in your head, it’ll keep you awake, so really make sure you wind down before bedtime. Have a nice warm herbal tea, put some music on, light some candles and have an aromatherapy bath (see point 1), stop using technology past 8pm, chill out and maybe pop some Lavender essential oil on a tissue and put it inside your pillowcase at night before bed! Count those sheep and get your sleep.
10) Complementary Therapies: Treat Yourself
If you’re really struggling – especially if it is affecting your sleep – see a homeopath for some remedies that may be able to help you get more imbalanced – or treat yourself to some balancing holistic therapies like reflexology, reiki or aromatherapy massage. Give yourself the gift of wellbeing this Christmas!
Your Wellbeing is for Life, Not Just for Christmas
Overall, it’s really important that you stay healthy and take care of yourself because your body, mind and soul are for life, not just for Christmas. If you rush around imbalancing yourself – whether physically, mentally, emotionally or just generally running your soul into the ground, just so that everyone else is happy and content – you will only damage your own wellbeing, and that’s when the January crash will come. Instead of living life at the extreme in the build up to this season, try scaling back, enjoying the moment for what it is, relaxing and staying present, taking some pressure off yourself, and save some of your vital energy so that you can spread some of that energetic love into January and beyond…
Have a Happy and Healthy Christmas!
Nicole Barton – Wellbeing Writer
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