So we’re now all in the full swing of Christmas and the rush is on, we’re heading to the finishing line and I’m embracing the chaos.
As you will know from my previous posts I love this time of year! But with all the hustle and bustle it’s easy to get lost in the preparations and forget what you need, to function at your best.
Trying to fit everything in can be difficult at the best of times but at Christmas it gets cranked up to another level.
Between making sure everyone has the perfect present, writing all the cards (OK I hold my hands up, I gave up on this years ago….I kept writing them, forgetting to send them or leaving it so late it was impossible to get them out, I finally admitted defeat and one year just didn’t do it anymore) decorating the house to make it magical, organising the Christmas food, the get togethers and visitors who may be dropping by or even staying over etc…… it all adds up!
And this is on top of your normal daily tasks!
So if you are going to enjoy the festivities to the full, it’s important to make time for you.
I know this is easier said than done, especially when your focus is making sure those you love have a wonderful time. Giving yourself a few minutes in the day to recoup, re-energise or relax can make all the difference and keep you on top form to rock the festive season instead of ending up a frazzled heap on boxing day.
When I was small I remember my parents worked so hard making Christmas amazing (and they did, make Christmas amazing that is) that by Christmas day my Dad had the mother of all migraines and ended up spending Christmas day afternoon in a blacked out bedroom unable to get his head off the pillow. It happened every year.
You think I would have learned a lesson from this but as usual I didn’t…..I really can be my own worst enemy.
After many years of me rushing around like a headless chicken right up until the last minute, I realised that the enjoyment wasn’t what it used to be. I was too exhausted to fully enjoy it. Things had to change.
It sounds crazy me asking you to make time for you after I’ve already said you are cramming so much more than usual in. It makes sense though if you consider that if you are at your best you will have more energy and accomplish things even quicker.
So here are a few things you could slide into your day and no one but you will even notice.
1. Turn off your phone
Yep, that’s what I said, turn off the phone. Don’t panic, just for an hour or so it’s absolutely liberating knowing you can’t be reached, just for a short time.
I do this ALOT actually and have a bit of a reputation for it. It’s my guilty pleasure, I sometimes forget to switch it back on, much to the annoyance of my friends and family.
Now I’m not saying go to the extremes that I do, as that can be really aggravating for every one else but occasionally when you need a little you time, it’ll give you a great feeling of release.
2. Take a stroll
It doesn’t have to be a long one, 15 minutes will do it, but it will give you space to clear the mind clutter and come back re-energised and ready for action.
Release those endorphins and feel the stress disappear. If you can touch base with nature even better.
3. Make Yourself the most awesome hot chocolate ever
My all time Christmas favourite has to be Jamie Olivers recipe (with the addition of a splash of brandy or whiskey for good measure). I can’t get enough of it which is why I only make it at this time of year. If you make up a tub of his hot chocolate mix it’s as quick as making a normal hot chocolate but with sheer indulgence.
4. Stay bed an extra five minutes
Ooh I get all snuggly thinking about it. Just lay there enjoying the squishy pillows and the warm duvet. Just make sure you don’t drop back off to sleep.
5. Indulge in a takeout instead of cooking
Lets face it we are going to be cooking like mad for the rest of the time.
6. Read a chapter of your favourite book
The only problem with this is not being able to put it down once you’re in the flow.
7. Take a bath instead of a shower and surround yourself with candles
I’ve dropped this one in for everyone that loves a long relaxing bath ….unfortunately that’s not me.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve tried.
You know after one of those stressful days when all you want to do is relax.
“Have a nice hot bath” they say “it will help you unwind”.
After 5 minutes I’m more irritated than before I plunged in.
I think I must just be a weird anomaly. I find myself arguing WITH MYSELF (never a good thing). I’ll be talking(in my head of course, I’m not totally loopy…..I don’t think) about what happened in the day and I’m stuck with myself, in a bath of water, where I can’t do anything about it.
If I read, the pages get soggy and if I have music on it’s inevitable I am going to want to keep jumping from song to song and so have to be in and out of the bath, which defeats the object. I can feel myself getting frustrated even thinking about it!
But if you are in the majority and love a long luxurious bath go for it, apparently it works wonders.
Adding a few drops of essential oils can have great benefits too.
- Peppermint: helps boost energy and help with digestion.
- Lavender: is used for stress relief.
- Sandalwood: to calm nerves and help with focus.
- Bergamot: to reduce stress.
- Rose: to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
- Chamomile: improve mood and aid relaxation.
- Ylang-Ylang: for headaches, nausea and skin conditions.
- Tea Tree: fights infections and boosts immunity
- Lemon: for improved mood and headaches.
Then as a finishing touch scented candles ( of which I am a great fan of) will complete the ambiance.
8. Give yourself 5 minutes to step outside and enjoy the stars
Pick a crisp clear night and just sneak away for 5 minutes. There’s something about gazing into the vastness of the universe that puts every thing into perspective. The sense of stillness calms the spirit, life slows down and you can reconnect with nature and everything around. I absolutely love nature.
9. Seek out what makes you laugh
Release your natural feel good chemicals. Have you ever noticed how much more energy you have when your happy. Laughing reduces your stress levels and can help boost your immune system.
So how do you go about seeking out what makes you laugh on demand?
Here’s a few things you could try.
- Call an old friend who know how to laugh and say “do you remember when…..”
- Elfyourself or a friend
- Find YouTube channels that make you laugh
- Rewatch comedies you love
- Just laugh out loud. Take a look at laughter Yoga I have to admit it made me laugh just watching the clip
10. Tiny meditation breaks
These are great to bring you back to the present and let go of the tensions you may be holding without even knowing it.
If you are used to meditating skip this as you are probably doing it any way.
If not and you want to give it a go just type into Google 3 minute meditation and find one which you feel comfortable with. They will guide you through how to complete a 3-minute meditation. After a couple of times you will be able to do it anywhere without the guidance. It’s a great technique to master as you need nothing other than yourself and you can reap great rewards.
11. Give yourself a Foot rub
This is a great one as you can literally do it in 5 minutes and get fantastic results. I was really skeptical at first but started doing this when I had my own catering business and was on my feet for up to 15 hours at a time most days. I did it initially just to relieve my feet but soon realised that so many other parts of my body began to feel better too, especially my back. There’s a really simple YouTube clip by Michelle Ebbin which will give you some basics to start you off.
12. Dance around the kitchen to your favourite song
No coaching or guidance needed for this one. Yep I’m 54 and love nothing more than dancing (I’m using that term loosely) round the kitchen to anything from Meatloaf to George Ezra. Our kitchen window can be seen directly from the street and I have a sneaky suspicion I may have been spotted with my wooden spoon microphone on more than one occasion!
And there you have it, the ways I add a little me time into my day in the run up to Christmas (excluding those aggravating luxury baths of course)
Most of them only take a few minutes (of that very precious time which is in such short supply) but will definitely result in you feeling more relaxed, indulged and on fire for the festive merriment
I hope you have found this helpful and would love to hear your ideas and any tips you may have on how you make time for you.