We all know that the festive season, with a host of public holidays, religious and secular celebrations, can be daunting, exhausting, and cause us to start the New Year feeling like we need a break from the holidays! For many of us, it can be a sad or lonely time, with the absence of loved ones standing out in stark-contrast to the constant stream of media images and shows about Christmas and family get-togethers. On top of that, we now have the added complexities and insecurities of the COVID-19 pandemic and its shifting landscape.
Over my long career as a hypnotherapist, I’ve seen many people struggle with the weight of expectations, exhaustion, and grief, and have helped them get through the festive season, and all that it brings, with greater resilience and wellbeing with five simple tips.
My Top 5 Self-Care Tips for Surviving the Festive Season
- Maintain friendships and connection.
- Prioritise your routine – especially, sleep, exercise, and meals.
- Ask for help and accept it when it is offered.
- Pamper yourself – think of yourself as your own best friend.
- Plan something special to look forward to, whether that be an outing with loved ones or doing something new just for you.
In my last blog post, we explored the value of friendships in surviving and thriving this festive season. Today, we turn to my second top tip:
Tip Number 2 – Prioritise Your Routine
If you’ve worked hard throughout the year to improve your sleep habits, exercise routine, or diet, then the festive season can feel like a field full of landmines that you have to navigate. I always find that people treat me the way I treat myself. If others see you toss away your priorities to fit in with them, then that’s what they’ll grow to expect; whereas if you accommodate their needs around yours, you’ll be able to maintain healthy boundaries, and everyone is a winner!
If travelling away from your local area, do some advance planning to see where you can exercise while away. See whether your local gym has a reciprocal membership program in the area you’re visiting, and check out the closest local walking tracks, swimming pools, bike paths, or hiking trails and how easy it will be for you to get to them. If you’re headed for a resort, check what their gym facilities are like and what other opportunities there are for exercise.
Keep your sleep routine. Let everyone know when you like to wind down and wake up and stick to this. You’ll feel better, and most likely be a more energised and happier person to be around if you don’t get dragged into somebody else’s sleep cycle at the expense of your own. Set a reminder on your phone so that the night doesn’t get away from you, and set a slightly later wake-up alarm than normal so as to sustain your holiday spirits with needed rest (it’s all in the balance, after all!). So long as your sleep in is no longer than 30 minutes, you won’t undermine your usual sleep cycle. If you can, try to avoid drinking alcohol on consecutive days – nothing will undermine your routine like a hangover!
If you have food intolerances, stand firm and don’t let others sway you from what you know is right for you. To do this you’ll need to plan in advance. Bring one of your favourite dishes to share with loved ones, or the ingredients that you know are safe for you and have some fun cooking together in the kitchen. They’ll learn something new, and you’ll feel at ease knowing that everything going into your body is good for you. If you’re dining out, confirm ahead that the venue can meet your dietary requirements, or work with your friends in choosing a place that you can all enjoy.
To sum up:
- Keep up your exercise. If travelling, look up where you can exercise and what gear to bring in advance.
- Support your sleep cycle. Set reminders and communicate your needs to others.
- Stick to your dietary requirements. Be proactive and prepare dishes you can enjoy and share.
To learn about the importance of routines for managing anxiety, see another of my blog’s here.
Yours in wellness,
Elisabetta Faenza | LeafCann CEO