It is the season of joy and spending time with loved ones but all the hustle and bustle of the festivities can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Especially for you, we present our top five self-care tips for the holidays.
Feel more connected
Catching up with family and friends is a wonderful and hugely rewarding aspect of the festive season and the benefits of this connection are well known. Having social connections and feeling like we belong can be strongly associated with longer living and greater happiness.
In addition, altruism and looking out for others is also important. Altruism helps us to look outwards and think about others that may be feeling lonely or isolated at this time of year. Volunteering can improve our sense of belonging and increases positivity. Charities that provide support to vulnerable people such as the elderly and the homeless would all welcome your help (in any way you can) this Christmas.
Alternatively, random acts of kindness are another way of giving. For example, you could pop round for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with an elderly neighbour or buy a hot drink and some hot food for a homeless person and spend a few minutes having a natter with them.
Staying active and making time for exercise across the festive season can benefit both your physical and mental health. Getting out into the fresh air can help to combat tiredness and the daylight will help to lift your mood. It’s also a great way to offset excess calories that have been consumed. A few ideas are:
- An hour-long winter walk after a big meal
- You could also go for a run –Santa runs have become popular as a way of getting active and wearing fancy dress while giving to charity
- Running is also renowned for its mental wellbeing benefits –it’s an excellent stress reliever and it also releases feelgood hormones
- Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise, it strengthens muscles and has a low-impact on the body. It’s also an excellent mindfulness tool and is great for carving out alone time where you can switch off from everything
- Alternatively, put together a short strength training session and take it outdoors or try dancing
Do something creative
Relieve stress in the build-up to the festivities by getting creative. You might start by writing and designing or painting your own Christmas cards. Creative activities can make us feel happier by relaxing and calming our mind. They also benefit us by improving our mood and by being a great outlet for processing our emotions.
Journaling over the holidays is useful for keeping feelings of overwhelm in check. Capturing the essence of the beauty of winter landscapes and snow scenes is a real joy for creatives.
You could also set yourself a monthly photography challenge where you capture a different image every day, which is a great excuse to get outdoors and explore.
One of the pleasures of the festive break is having more time to yourself. Whether you’ve been hoping to devote some time to reading or writing a book, go for it!
When we feel more connected with others, it helps us to realise when friends and family are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Equally, if we are experiencing similar feelings, it can be enormously helpful to talk through what’s going on with someone. If you’re feeling anxious, having an informal chat over a coffee can really help. Working through your thoughts by keeping a daily journal is another good idea. Reflecting on each day by making a note of one thing you were grateful for can be particularly beneficial for your mental wellbeing.
Stop and take a break
Learning to observe when you’re becoming stressed and being able to recognise when you’re beginning to experience early signs of overwhelm is important for good self-care. If your levels of stress are continuing to increase and it’s becoming more noticeable, give yourself permission to take some time out and have a break.
Take your pick of these excellent relaxation techniques as they will all help to bring your stress levels down and bring you back to the present moment. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga are all renowned self-care tools. For example, if you’re keen to try yoga at home, have a go at some Yoga with Adrienne (YouTube) sessions. Adrienne’s yoga workouts are very popular and they’re suitable for absolutely everyone.