7 tips to avoid Christmas overwhelm

Are you tired, stressed and dragging yourself towards the end of the year? If so, you are not alone.

7 Tips to reduce the overwhelm:

1. Say no! If you can't, don't want to or don't have the time. In the scheme of things it's probably not THAT important anyway. Don't let other people's expectations guilt you into doing things you don't have the time or energy for. 

2. Breathe! Do you notice that your breath is shallow when you are stressed? The shallow breathing brings less oxygen into our bodies which means that our brains – which use 25% of the oxygen we take in – is getting less oxygen too, causing us to have difficulty concentrating and focusing.

When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and cranks up our heart rates to pump more blood to our muscles, creates shallow breathing, and shoots adrenaline into our bodies to get us ready to face the danger before us. 

Taking a deep, long breath will signal to the body to relax. Try this:
Take a deep breath in through the nose and hold it for a count of four. Then release it through your mouth as though it was a big sigh of relief.
Do this anywhere and anytime you can. In the car, standing in line, cooking, brushing your hair or waiting for public transport.

3. Relax. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to relax will calm your nervous system, increase your energy and make you more efficient (and make less mistakes!) While those 10 minutes might be hard to find, it will be so worth it. Sit under a tree, do a guided meditation, deep breathing, read a book, take a bath or enjoy a quiet cup of tea - whatever works for you to calm that stress response. And how about a pre-Christmas massage?

4. Reduce the amount of buying. Shopping takes time and at this time of the year, can be stressful. Can you cut down the amount of presents you need to buy, by doing a Kris Kringle? Or by giving an ethical gift of giving to people in need instead?

5. Limit alcohol consumption. Even though it may be tempting to drink it up at your awkward Christmas party, or wind down with a couple of glasses of wine at the end of a busy day, most of us know that alcohol really isn't our friend! And who needs a hangover at this time of the year?

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking water is easy to forget when you are rushing around and busy. But with the warmer weather now upon us, keeping hydrated will keep you clear headed and energised. Add some lemon or mint to your water to make it more fun. 

7. Gratitude journal. Every morning jot down or say out loud or in your head 3 things you’re grateful for. Do the same before you go to bed. Inner happiness and joy begin with an attitude of Gratitude.

The plan is to have a 'Merry' Christmas, so be kind to yourself every day, so that you wake up on Christmas day feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the day.