What a year! You may have study or work projects wrapping up as we tidy up all of our loose ends of 2014. Then there are the end of year work parties, friends over for Christmas drinks and family gatherings to host or attend. A combined potential for your very own nuclear meltdown, or at the least some tremors while you stumble to find your footing on shaky ground.
It doesn’t have to be that way, if you keep an awareness and check you’re on track with these top 10 tips, your holiday season will be one to really enjoy.
Top 10 Tips to keep your cool this silly season
- Be organised. Proper planning helps prevent you falling into overwhelm. Spend 5 minutes at the end of each day updating your diary. Feel satisfaction in ticking off the tasks you’ve completed. Prioritise and don’t overload your day.
- Balance indoor and outdoor activity. Ensure each day has periods of time to work and breaks to eat and to chill out. Factor in some regular physical exercise, great for the mind and body. Kick your shoes off and walk on the grass to “ground” or “earth”. Negative ions from the earth work to help balance you out.
- Rest. Ensure you get adequate sleep. If you’re waking up tired or pressing the snooze button repeatedly, plan for an earlier bedtime or investigate as to what’s causing the lack of sleep and make some changes that will better support you. Meditation or having some time to completely switch off does wonders. Don’t worry if you can’t set aside an hour, even 10 minutes will do and can make such a difference.
- Breathe. Yes, of course, we all do this, but what sort of breathing are you doing? Are they short, shallow breaths you are taking right now, or worse, perhaps you are holding your breath? Take a big breath in right now, feel or imagine that pocket of air moving right through your body. As you do, it slows and deepens your breathing, connecting you once again. You can even add an affirmation as you do this such as “I choose to now let it go” or “I am calm and relaxed”. Not an affirmation-lover? Then even just imagining all the stress leaving your body on an out-breath will be beneficial.
- Release. If you’ve got something on your mind and it’s not shifting with the breath, or it’s keeping you from a restful sleep then work on letting it go. Write it out in a letter, or say it out loud to an understanding friend, or to an empty room. Safely get it off your chest. If there’s another person involved and something needs to be said then consider the best way to do that. Get advice if you need to. Many times, just writing it out, intense feelings and all, then ripping up the paper afterwards will have you feeling the burden lift from your shoulders.
- Hold Stress Release points. We kinesiologists have a magic trick called ESR. Emotional Stress Release (ESR) points are located on your forehead above your eyes, about half way between the eyebrow and the hairline. By holding your fingertips gently on these points or even placing the palm of your hand gently on your forehead for a few minutes with slower breathing, will in most cases, help gently reduce the degree of stress. If you’d like more information on this easy self-help technique, please visit my website, sign up to the newsletter and you’ll receive a one page guide to start using this simple technique straight away.
- Keep hydrated. As an average, people require 2-3 litres of water daily, however this requirement can often be more, particularly over our summer months. Keeping hydrated with clean, filtered water keeps the brain and the body functioning more effectively, placing less stress on the body.
- Be selective. Whether it’s being selective about the food you eat, the television programs you watch, the people you spend time with or the battles you engage in. Bringing a mindful perspective to the choices you make usually results in a greater sense of mind/body balance and has you feeling happier afterwards with the choices you’ve made.
- Laugh. The gift of laughter is often under-rated. It is a quality that can transform energy instantly. A sad or stuck state can immediately shift and be replaced with a light, clearer space or attitude through the power of a good laugh. Lighten up, have some fun, enjoy a great comedy, do some things that put a smile on your face and that lighten your heart.
- Express gratitude. Things don’t always go our way, or turn out as we expect and that can be disappointing. It is perfectly okay to feel that disappointment. Through feeling and accepting the heavier feelings, then moving through that, we really do “process and move on”. Being thankful for the good things you do have going in your life – people, opportunities, situations helps bring your awareness back to the positives in your life. Being thankful for the warming sun on your face, the flowers you’ve grown, the cat on your lap, the smile you’ve been given, all remind us that despite the challenges we face from time to time, there is also good in our lives too. And that’s certainly reason to celebrate!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season that has you feeling relaxed, connected and smiling, inside and out.
Published in The Fitness Report, December 2014 edition, “Emotional Fitness” column