While some people absolutely love the festive period, I find it a difficult time of year to stay balanced and well. In the run up to Christmas day there’s this frenetic kind of energy building up that is absolutely inescapable in London. Everyone is frazzled and pushing hard to get to the end of the year and the sweet relief of time off with families and friends, and if you’re lucky a holiday away in the sun!
The danger of pushing hard in December is that once you stop to relax your body slows down, in particular your adrenals, so you can become run down and ill very quickly. So rather than waiting to show yourself some self-care and love in January, why not start the process now?
If like me you’re finding the dark nights, short days and cold weather affecting your energy and mood there’s some simple ways to keep yourself nourished, grounded and well whilst you slog through to the end of the year. So read on to discover my top 10 ways to find your balance this festive period:
Keep your immune system in peak condition with these simple tips: drink lots of lovely warm herbal tea, keep your lymph flowing with exercise such as jogging or yoga, up your intake of a high quality vitamin C (1 gram with every meal) and think positive thoughts - which is proven to have an impact on the immune system!
Be aware of how you’re eating. ‘Tis the season of sweets and treats but do eat them mindfully and be aware of the sugar lows. To keep your energy beautifully balanced eat regular meals and if you’re eating a sweet treat pair with something savory. It’s not about the calories but the sugar, too much can leave you with an energy dip leaving you feeling flat and even more tired than before. Keep your fruit and vegetable intake as high as you can too.
Feel free to say no. You don’t have to say yes to every drinks party or meet up that you get asked to. Your friends will still be around in January, there’s no need to rush and fit everything in before December 25th. January is a really lovely time to catch up with friends, especially because you’ll be calmer, more refreshed and able to give your friends a better, less frazzled energy.
With cold weather comes lots of central heating; at work, at home and on public transport. For some reason when it’s cold we’re less inclined to drink water but with all this extra heat we need more than ever! Don’t forget to be drinking your 2 liters a day or more.
December is a different ball game to every other month of the year, it’s the darkest, coldest and busiest. So I think that while it’s best to live as healthily as you can, it’s totally normal and OK not to eat as well, not to exercise as diligently or be as motivated. Take the pressure off your shoulders to perform at peak capacity and recognise the need to slow down and accept that December is just one of those months.
No. Six It may sound very simple but make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Giving yourself time to rest in December is crucial. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough hours at night and if you have a late evening one night make sure you catch up by getting an earlier bedtime the following night.
Don’t neglect your own self-care. Christmas can be a period of saying yes to lots of things, buying gifts for people we love and putting in more effort for others, which is all lovely but sometimes we neglect our own wellbeing in return. Make sure you have some time to yourself, treat yourself to something that makes you smile and gives you some joy. For me that’s a yin yoga workshop - blissful!
When you’re cooped up for days spending concentrated time with family it can be a little tiring, especially when you don’t normally spend so much time together. It’s completely normal to have moments of friction or a need to escape. My advice is this - accept your family for who they are, you can’t change them, just let whatever it is go and remember that Christmas is a time of peace, not of war. If things get too intense you’re always free to escape for some time out, whether it's with a walk or some Netflix!
No. Nine It’s so easy to wake up and immediately grumble about the cold, the dark and the workload but remembering to be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life can be a real mood game changer. As an example, on my way to work I appreciate the beautiful sunrise, the hat keeping my ears toasty warm, having a warm bed to sleep in, unlike so many others, music I’m currently listening to, the lovely people I work with, that morning cup of coffee. The trick is to not think too far ahead, just think of the day you’re in, think of the things you can appreciate right this moment and don’t worry about a future that hasn’t happened.
Don't neglect your fresh air. Although it's cold keep the window open at night to keep the fresh air circulating and make sure you get out and about during the day even if it's a quick half hour walk during your lunch break. While it's easy to slip into a month of very little movement try and keep your activity levels gently going, especially getting outside. A walk in nature can be incredible invigorating, even if it's just around your local common. Get wrapped up and get out there!
Breath - it will soon be over and you can welcome in a fresh New Year feeling grounded, calm and ready to go. Wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful and balanced December.