Is the thought of Christmas activities, family reunions, or last minute gift shopping creating stress and anxiety? Or perhaps you’re not feeling particularly cheery this time of year? You’re not alone. Many find that the holidays bring as much stress as they do joy. But there are ways to ease through the season.
To help make the most of your festivities, try these mindful tips:
- Deep Breathing
Our breathing is a powerful way for us to regulate our emotions - especially if you’re feeling tense, agitated, or overwhelmed during the holidays. Through your breath, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system—the calming response in your body. When we know how to work with our breath, we can change so much - our mood, panic attacks, insomnia, and even blood pressure. So the next time you find yourself feeling stressed out, rushed off your feet or irritated by family, then take a moment to pause and breathe.One of the most calming breathing exercises you can do is to breathe in deeply to a count of four, hold, and then breathe out for up to twice as long (e.g., to a count of six or eight).
There are a variety of breathwork practices available depending on your mood or day. Get started with some guided breathing cycles in the new Flourish & Fulfilled App.
- Guided Meditation
Meditation is such a powerful practice for the mind and can help us focus, shift negative thoughts, and regain a sense of calm. Spending 10 minutes with your own thoughts can do wonders for the day ahead. You’ll find you’ll be able to focus and fight distractions a lot easier. Meditation can clear your mind from thoughts that are stressing you, and over time, regular meditation has been found to help you be less reactive to stress, and more resilient in the face of your stressors.
Not sure where to begin? Choose from a variety of guided meditations in the Flourish & Fulfilled App.
- Move your body
Exercise isn’t just for your body. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness. Even a small amount of exercise can have a huge effect for you physically and mentally, so when the festivities begin to feel a bit too much, take yourself for a walk outside or a 15-minute yoga session to rebalance your emotions.
- Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude reminds you of the beauty in the little things in life that you currently have. It helps you look at situations in a more positive light, build stronger relationships with people you love, and helps improve your mental and physical well-being. Remind yourself of things that you appreciate and those that make you happy to be alive. Feeling grateful for all that you currently have brings you back to the present time - and the present is a truly wonderful place to be.
- Positive affirmations
Affirmations are a direct line between you and your subconscious. They're a sure way to boost your confidence and remind you that you are a Queen. Many of us are not aware of our negative thoughts or emotions that we fill in our brains. Positive affirmations help redirect those thoughts onto a positive track. It might feel or sound silly at first, but the more you practice - the more you will believe in your words. I’ve put together a few affirmations to get you started here, alternatively you can get a daily affirmation in the Flourish & Fulfilled app to inject more mindfulness into your day.
- Limit Your Screen Time
Christmas is the perfect time to have a rest from digital devices, unplug and just enjoy being present with your loved ones. It's incredible how being glued to our phones can cause added stress. Having a rest from your phone and computer could be just the thing to ensure you have a relaxing Christmas.You can even go so far as deleting your social apps to stop you from being tempted.
You’ll be amazed at how much time you free up by not hopping onto Instagram every hour to have a little scroll.
- Learn to say 'no'
Many of us have a problem with setting boundaries with people. We want to keep people happy, don't want to let them down and we certainly don't want to miss out! Sometimes, we'll say yes to something even though we're too tired and overstretched, and we end up exhausted and quietly resenting the people we've said yes to. Know that it’s ok to say no to things; it's a busy time of year and people will understand. Your health and happiness are more important.
- Allow Some Alone Time
The holidays are a busy time for social events with friends, family gatherings and spending as much quality time with loved ones as possible. But if you want to try and avoid social exhaustion so you’re not burnt out by the beginning of next year then spend time on your own. Dedicate time to self-care every day, even if it’s just for 10-mins doing something just for you. Go on a walk by yourself, journal, watch a movie you want to watch or simply sit and do nothing. Self-care allows you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so you can properly take care of your mental health and well-being during this overwhelming time.
Remember, most things aren't as big of a deal as our brains make them out to be. Let go of needing things to be perfect this Christmas and give yourself permission to just focus on having fun and spending time with those you love.
I hope these tips help boost a little more calm into your day this festive season.