Christmas Survival Guide - simple tips for a stress free Christmas

Healthy eating & nutrition
  • It may sound obvious but eat as healthy as you can most of the time. Have your normal meals at home or before the guests arrive; save the‘bad stuff’ for those special events. Remember the 90/10 rule.
  • Eat a good wholesome meal before you head out to parties. The benefits are two fold; eating healthy before will reduce the temptation to eat junk food, and you’ll be less hungry in the first place. Nutritious food relieves hunger, junk wrong food produces it!
  • Put your snacks on a plate; this lets you see just how much you’re eating. Picking from the table as you go can hide just how much you’re getting through.
Keeping active
  • Sitting in the house a day eating, drinking and watching repeats on TV is the perfect antidote to being active; not only does it stop you taking exercise, but it also has the effect of then not wanting to exercise.
  • Try ‘sneaking’ out of the house early in the morning before the family gets up and the mayhem starts. No one will miss you for an hour so take a walk, get some fresh air and calm your mind before the day begins in earnest.
  • Later in the day, suggest an outside activity; you might be surprised how many people ‘almost’ want some fresh air, just not quite enough to suggest it themselves. And who knows who will take you up on the offer; this may be the perfect time to get to really chat to the aunt you only see once a year, or get to bond with an in law.
  • If at all possible, put the time in on the lead up to the holidays and get caught up with work beforeyou take off. Don’t imagine you’ll suddenly have plenty of spare time to catch up at home – it doesn’t happen. Then use any spare time you do have to think open-mindedly about the following year or coming months. Brainstorm yourself so you go back to work in the new year full of enthusiasm and ideas on how to do things more efficiently/effectively.
  • Ah, the big one, the one that has the power to bring everything down, the biggest cause of stress during the season of ‘goodwill’! You may be spending time with people you wouldn’t normally choose to, or people you actively dislike. Is it really worth the added stress to be awkward? Even if you think it’s their fault, be the bigger person – smile and say something nice, you may be pleasantly surprised. Welcome them to your home, thank them for the invite, prepare a question or two that isn’t just polite small talk, ask about something you know they are interested in. even if the other person knows you’re ‘faking it’, they may appreciate the gesture and commit to doing the same. Who knows, you may even both see the irony of the situation and things will only go better from there. Most importantly – avoid at all costs, topics or subjects that you know you won’t agree on.
  • And as for the people you’re closest to; make the big effort as things start to get tense, to defuse any potential situation before it gets out of hand. Remind each other before hand and constantly as you go, that this will be tough for both of you and that you both need to work together for the better good. The key word here – communicate!
  • An easy one for many people as after all, for most people this time of year originated as a religious celebration. But what if you’re not religious, where does spirituality fit into things? Peace, quiet, serenity…again, go out into nature alone, appreciate the good in your life. Take yourself off to a quiet room and meditate or practice yoga. Take a bath or just read a book for a while; anything to quiet your mind and revitalize the real you. Then go back out and enjoy it some more!
However you celebrate this time of year, whatever your beliefs and whatever you get up to – have a great Christmas and all the very best for the New Year…

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