Some tips on how to make life more manageable this December. Or anytime.
For children, the month of December is often just one big countdown to the big day. There seem to be Christmas events every few days, and even opening the next window on the advent calendar is an event in itself (I still remember that excitement, and I didn’t even have chocolate in mine!).
However, as an adult, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Especially if you’re the one organising everyone else’s Christmas activities as well as your own.
Here are a few things I have been experimenting with for the last few months that you might want to try now to make the lead up to Christmas more focused and less stressed.
Each night before bed take 10 minutes to plan out the next day. It’s so easy to think we’ll get more done than we can. If you actually plan out the day it helps you to be realistic about what you can achieve in one day. You really do have to include everything though: taking the dog for a walk, your gym class, cooking dinner, travel time, as well as all the work stuff! If you also incorporate a list of the 3 things (or 5 or 10!) that you really must get done that day it will help you to focus your mind and give you the best chance of achieving them. I've been using the Best Self Journal to help with this - I really recommend it!
Work out a bedtime routine and try to stick to it. If you plan (see above!) it will help to let your mind be calm when you do finally get to bed. If you can add in a nice relaxing bath or shower before bed that will really help (check out the Lavender products at Rather Lovely to make your bedtime routine even more relaxing).
Make a conscious decision to stop checking your phone at least half an hour before you get in bed (more about why in another newsletter). If getting to sleep is a real problem for you then get in touch – I can help. Sleep is such an important thing and good sleep really makes a difference to your ability to get the most out of each day.
Okay, so I know we all breathe, but it’s conscious breathing that I’m talking about. I’ve been going to a new yoga class for the last few months and I’ve really noticed the benefit of the breathing exercise we do at the beginning of each class. If I find myself tensing up during the day or struggling to calm my mind at bedtime I use the breathing technique we’ve been taught. Give it a go when you turn out the light at night and at any time when you realise you are getting overwhelmed or stressed out during the day.
Here’s how: Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Try and count slowly to 4 and visualise filling the whole of your lungs. Breathe out through your nose, trying to breathe out for the same count as you breathed in. Use your tummy muscles to force out all the air from your lungs. Before your next breath in, try and pause for a few seconds, or as long as feels comfortable. Repeat! You will gradually be able to take longer, deeper breathes and at the same time feel your body relaxing more and more with each out breath. If your mind still wanders, with your eyes still closed, focus on the point between your eye brows while you continue breathing.
Give it a go, it really is a wonderfully calming and relaxing thing to do.
Wishing you a calm and peaceful Christmas!