Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It is however, also a super busy, super stressful time of the year too. There’s so much to do, so little time and people everywhere seem to lose their minds… just a little.
Belinda Reynolds – BioCeuticals Dietitian and Nutritionist says the key to beating holiday stress is to plan ahead – and not to procrastinate!
“Christmas shopping can be challenging at the best of times without adding in busy shopping centres full of stressed individuals, and impossible parking! Start shopping in the months leading up to Christmas. Divide everything you have to do, including the gift wrapping, up into digestible chunks so that you’re never overwhelmed with a massive task,” she says.
“Also, try to remind yourself of the real meaning of Christmas, and make the time for relaxing with family and friends.”
But with less than 12 sleeps to go, what if some of us haven’t been prepared this year? (Cue anxiety) How can we manage our workloads and stress levels in the lead up to the big break? More importantly if things do start to feel overwhelming what can we do to not let it consume us?
Belinda says, everyone will have methods that help them best to relax immediately, however if you're after some ideas to slow down quickly she recommends:
- Deep, controlled breathing;
- Getting outside in the fresh air and moving - even if just for 10 mins;
- Putting on a song you love and singing along loudly;
- Trying a short yoga session;
- Having a cup of herbal tea (e.g. green tea, chamomile or another relaxing blend); and
- Watching a funny video on YouTube, or do something else that makes you laugh.
“I also like to live by the Mark Twain quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The idea is to perform the task that overwhelms or scares you the most first thing in the morning. This way everything else you do that day will seem easy in comparison, plus having completed that difficult task will mean that it isn’t hanging over your head and stressing you out all day!”
Also; what you eat can affect your situation too.
Naturally, one of the worst things you can do for your stress levels is eat whole bunch of junk. If anything it’ll only make you come crashing down. Instead, aim to try and stay as healthy as possible in order to maintain nice stable energy levels and keep your stress levels at bay.
Belinda recommends “Aiming to nourish your body with healthy plant foods, good fats (e.g. those found in olive oil, avocado, oily fish and raw nuts) and protein (e.g. wild caught fish, organic free range chicken, grass fed meat, organic free range eggs, legumes, nuts). These all contain nutrients that are essential for your brain to make the chemicals essential for it to relax and recover from stress.
“Herbal teas are also fantastic. Green tea naturally contains an amino acid known as L-theanine which helps the brain to relax and works rather quickly. L-theanine is also available in a supplement form for those needing extra support. Magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements can also be used during times of stress. These nutrients can both become depleted when we’re stressed and run down, which is why some people find they achieve benefits through their use. It is of course always important to focus on a healthy diet and exercise first - and then adding supplements in on top if needed!”
So there you have it Muses, a few simple tips to help you keep your stress levels at bay this festive season. And remember Christmas should be a happy season, not a stressful season so let’s add a little mindfulness to our planning this year!
Tell us, what do you do to reduce stress around this time of year?