Sparkle from the inside, our 5 minute guide to wellbeing
by James Oakley
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Is your tree up and decorated? Tin of overpriced chocolates bought, turkey ordered, gifts wrapped, stockings laid out, cards written and sent, mince pies made… did we miss anything?
It’s “the most wonderful time of the year” but often by the time we get to Christmas day we’re frazzled and stressed and liable to spend the festive season knackered and attempting to recover from the month leading up to the big day. It’s really easy to get so caught up in making sure you’ve got everything for everyone else, that you forget to take care for yourself. We worry so much about making sure everyone else is ok that our own wellbeing is unceremoniously shunted to the bottom of the list.
Here are our top tips for making sure you take care of yourself this festive season:
You do not need to attend every single carol service, nativity, party and dinner. There can be an incredible pressure to participate in every possible event, lest the spirit of Christmas be somehow lacking in our lives - but realistically, we all know that we’re bored after the second chorus of Ding Dong Merrily On High, and that oftentimes Christmas parties can just end up being a drunken nightmare as stressed colleagues let off steam.
If you’ve been looking forward to something, then of course find time to attend - but if you’re dreading it and know your time would be better spent doing other things, don’t be afraid to just say no. Don’t worry about making up an excuse; a simple “I’m so sorry, I can’t make it” will suffice - especially at this time of year when everyone has too much to juggle.
Make time to stop and breathe. It’s really easy during times of stress to drop all the positive habits and rituals we had been cultivating. When you’ve too much going on, things like meditation or mindfulness can seem like frivolous luxuries. If we cut these things out though, with no time for ourselves we can quickly begin to suffer.
Stop for a moment right now and think: where are your shoulders? Consciously relax those muscles, and note how far your shoulders drop. We rarely notice our shoulders creeping towards our ears as the day goes on, but it does happen.
Even if it’s only a couple of moments here and there, make sure you allow yourself time to stop and just be. Our Stress Less balm is great for this as the Scentered ritual is all about just stopping briefly to reset your mood before carrying on with your day.
Christmas shopping doesn’t count as a workout - even if your bags are really heavy! We’re not suggesting you should be taking an hour out for a spin class every other day over the festive season - unless you really want to, of course. That said, it can be so easy to spend a week sitting on the sofa eating too much, and then to wake up on January 2nd feeling sluggish and awful. Try to drag the family out for a walk when you can; why not arrange to meet friends or family members for a walk rather than inviting them round for mince pies? They might just welcome the excuse to get out and get some fresh air too!
Have a PJ day
We know we’ve just been encouraging you to get out and about, but it’s also important to have some quiet, lazy time at home with the family. Try to have at least one day where you’ve no commitments: no visitors; no parties to attend; no work to do. Have a fully lazy day where you don’t have to get dressed or entertain; you can just relax and spend time with your family.
Avoid other people’s Christmasses
In the age of social media it can be all too easy to see how other people are celebrating Christmas, and feel that you need to up your game. When you stop and think about it though, everyone else is probably posting the edited highlights and opting not to show their own stress. And does it really matter what someone else is doing with their festive season? Try to take a social media break over the festive season, or to at least take a step back from worrying about whether your Christmas tree selfie matches up with those of your friends.
Buy yourself a sneaky gift
Treat yourself to a pampering treat: a lovely scented candle or bubble bath, or perhaps even a massage. You could even wrap it and put it under the tree for yourself. Then amid all the rushing and stressing you’ll have something to look forward to on Christmas morning… or perhaps Christmas Eve, if you can’t wait that long!
We all eat “well” at Christmas, don’t we? All those rich foods: the cheeses; the sauces; the cakes; the chocolates and the leftovers. But there’s eating “well” and there’s… well, eating well. In among all the festive stodginess, it can be easy to let our five-a-day drop to the occasional satsuma or spoonful of cranberry sauce. It might feel good to give ourselves permission to gorge on the foods we don’t have for the rest of the year, but so much rich food can leave us feeling sluggish and even affect our moods. Try to make sure you have fresh fruits and vegetables every day as well as the usual Christmas treats to help you avoid feeling rubbish when January rolls around.
When you’re the person responsible for bringing Christmas together for the family, it can be hard to justify taking time out for yourself. With so much to prepare and organise, time just for you can seem like a luxury you can’t afford. Without time for ourselves though, we can quickly become run down and fed up; that’s not the recipe for an ideal festive season! Even if it’s only a few minutes here and there, remember to take time for yourself this festive season and