Top Tips For Surviving The Silly Season
The festive season can be stressful on the mind and the body. But by implementing little tricks, you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls of Christmas and New Year events. Let’s look at some ways that you can survive, and even thrive, during the silly season.
Shopping can be chaotic when it hits December! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the crush of people. But here are a few tips to help you tackle the Christmas shopping.
Have a plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. The worst thing you could do is to walk into a shopping centre with no clear idea of what you’re going to do. So sit down the night before, and make a plan of:
- What you’re going to buy for who
- How much your budget is
- When you’re going to take a break
- Whether you’re going to eat while you’re out, and if so, what
By planning this out, you can avoid the guilt and stress of overspending, the chance of impulse buys, and poor food choices that will make you feel worse.
Take regular breathers
If you’re a sensitive soul, the thousands of people in a shopping centre can cause feelings of anxiety. In this case, schedule in regular breathers. This might be by splitting up the list over a few days of shopping, or just taking a regular break.
One of my favourite strategies is to find one of the less populated bathrooms. They’re usually much quieter, so it gives me time to clear my head. If it’s a nice day, you might like to head out to the fresh air for a 10-minute break.
Recognise the psychology of sales
There’s a reason why sweet treats are at the checkout – to tempt you. Companies are very good at manipulating you into spending more money. But take the time to recognise this, and think of it from another angle.
Are you buying something that will better someone’s life? Will they have a chance to enjoy it in a few years, or at least the memory of it? If not, think about whether it really is the best present choice.
The Work Christmas Party
It’s a time for everyone to unwind after a lot of hard work. But it can be messy if you’re not careful! Here’s how to survive the Christmas party intact.
Pace the drinks
It’s easy to go a bit wild when the company is footing the bar tab. But loading your liver up is not the best way to end the year!
Pace your drinks out over the night. Decide how many you’re going to have, and stick to that. Have a glass of sparkling water in between if you want to have a drink to hold. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did the morning after.
Have a good meal beforehand
Unless you are guaranteed a sit-down meal at the event, have a healthy, light meal before heading to the party. Most Christmas parties serve canapes and finger food, and there are rarely healthy options available.
So have something light, like a chicken and avocado salad, beforehand. This way, you can avoid eating greasy finger foods and slow down the absorption of any alcohol you drink.
Take a pair of flat shoes
Us ladies love to enjoy a gorgeous pair of heeled shoes when it comes to a party. But this love can lead to very sore feet, and even long-term musculoskeletal problems. Heels put stress on the joints of the lower body and the spine. The longer you wear them, the greater the strain.
Be smart, and pack a pair of flat shoes in your bag. This is particularly important if you plan on having a few drinks!
The Family Gathering
The most stressful part of Christmas for many is the family gatherings. Snide comments from in-laws and judgmental questions from family may be inevitable – but it doesn’t have to ruin the day. Let’s look at ways to get through the family events intact.
Find a way to take timeouts if you need
Like many Christmas events, family gatherings can feel overwhelming, noisy and crowded. This is especially the case if there’s members you don’t feel comfortable around.
If this is the case, find a way to take a break from the event every now and then. Pop into an empty room to give your mind a rest. Even use the bathroom as a strategy for some peace and quiet. Do whatever you need to do to unwind.
When we’re stressed, we breathe very shallowly. This prepares our bodies for attack – and increases our anxiety levels! Your mother-in-law might seem like a monster, but your body is reacting like she is a threat to your life.
The best way to reverse this feeling is to breathe deep into the belly. When we deep breathe, we switch our nervous system away from fearing attack. Instead, it puts us into the mode for digestion and feeling calm. So by breathing deep down into the belly, your body will make you feel calmer.
Take a new perspective
When a family member says something, it can feel like it’s a personal attack. This atmosphere is part of why Christmas is so stressful for many people. But instead, let’s switch it up and find a new perspective.
Ask yourself what they might mean if it’s not a personal attack. Perhaps they’re worried about your wellbeing. Or maybe they don’t understand the situation. Maybe they genuinely believe they are helping!
By taking a different view, you can remain calm and might even thank them for their thoughts.
The Dinner Table
The Christmas Day meal is traditionally about over-indulging and eating to excess. But you can have your Christmas cake and eat it too – here’s how to have a balanced approach.
Indulge – in moderation
There is nothing wrong with a little bit of indulgence during the holidays. In fact, it can be good for your mind to relax and just enjoy food!
But do keep it to a moderate level. Make sure you savour every mouthful of dessert, and only eat the foods that you enjoy.
If you have intolerances, it might be tempting to indulge in those too. Before you do, just have a think about how it will impact on how you feel later, and weigh it up. If dairy gives you a slight tummy ache, you might choose to indulge. But if gluten gives you digestive, skin, mood and energy problems from a small dose, it might be best to skip it.
Whatever your decision, make it BEFORE it’s put in front of you. That way, the temptation to change your mind will be a lot lower!
Serve up plenty of nutritious foods
The best way to keep your body healthy and happy during the festive season is to eat good food. So if you’re in charge of the food preparation, mix in plenty of healthy options.
Fresh salads, fruit platters and fresh seafood are all great options for a holiday feast. They’re still a little bit special, but are packed to the brim with nutrition. For drinks, why not serve up some sparkling water infused with fruit and herbs for something a little bit fancy?
Take your time
If there’s one thing I could tell everyone at the Christmas feast, it’s ‘slow down!’ Eating too much food can be hard on your digestive tract, and can leave you bloated and miserable. The easiest way to avoid this is to take your time.
Put down the fork every few bites. Try not to start on the next mouthful until you’ve finished the one you have. It might seem like advice out of a Victorian age etiquette book, but it’s also great advice for optimal digestion.
Everywhere You Go
The silly season can impact you anywhere. So here are a few things to keep consistent no matter where you are.
Get good rest
Sleep is one of the first things to go out the door when it’s party time. But your body needs adequate rest more than ever to cope with the stress of the season.
Keep to your basic sleep rules – aim to be in bed before 10pm, avoid technology before bed, keep caffeine to before 3pm, and wake up at the same time each day. If you’re still feeling tired when you wake up, you either aren’t sleeping enough or the quality is low.
Give yourself permission to say no
Invitations are flying everywhere – but that doesn’t mean you have to attend everything. In fact, you’re better off going to 2-3 commitments and really enjoying them over burning out over 5 or more events.
So take a moment to give yourself permission to say no to things. If it makes you feel stressed to even think of it – say no. If it means rearranging your schedule to squeeze it in – say no. It’s a time for enjoyment, not obligation!
Gift yourself the best present
There’s always a great gift to give yourself – the gift of self-care. That could mean taking 10 minutes a day to slowly sip your tea or savour some chocolate. It might mean getting a babysitter once a fortnight.
When you look after yourself, you’re better able to support those you love. It recharges your batteries, so you can be your energetic, happy self! This is particularly true around Christmas time.
Watch out for warning signs
With already high stress levels on the rise, your body can risk burning out. This is commonly known as ‘adrenal fatigue’. Some of the common signs of adrenal fatigue include:
- Cravings for sugar, carbohydrates and salt
- Dizziness when standing up
- Low energy and lethargy
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Increased reliance on caffeine to ‘get going’
- Higher energy levels in the evening
- Lowered tolerance to stress
If you notice these symptoms coming up, slow down and take some time for yourself. If they continue, book in to see your friendly naturopath.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Safe and Prosperous New Year.