Health Keep­ing your cool at Christ­mas, bet­ter sleep

The count­down is on! Fol­low this eight-week wind-down plan to make it an easy, breezy fes­tive sea­son

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

From buy­ing presents to or­gan­is­ing the fam­ily get-to­gether, things can get crazy re­ally quickly in the lead-up to Christ­mas.

“Stress, anx­i­ety, worry and panic are nat­u­ral hu­man emo­tions, and are the re­sult of feel­ing over­whelmed as a re­sult of our ex­pec­ta­tions,” Bris­bane psy­chol­o­gist Dr Ro­mana Bowd says. “Some­times we just need to ex­pect less from our­selves and plan for well­ness rather than be­come over­whelmed.”

And how do we do that? Aus­tralia’s top well­ness ex­perts re­veal their p plan­ning gp tips...

WEEK EIGHT MAKE LISTS

“We all want to wrap up the year and some­times we can be­come a bit flus­tered when it comes to things we need to com­plete,” says Lisa Law­son, man­ager of Syd­ney’s Stretch Stu­dio (stretch­stu­dios.com.au). “Mak­ing lists is a great way of com­part­men­tal­is­ing the things you need to do. And each day tick off what you have done.”

WEEK SEVEN GET CRE­ATIVE

“Spend an evening or morn­ing imag­in­ing your per­fect Christ­mas,” says Lisa. “Who you would like to spend it with, what en­vi­ron­ment you would like to be in. Maybe even cre­ate a lit­tle vi­sion board or spend some time on Pin­ter­est, al­low­ing your imag­i­na­tion to run wild.”

WEEK SIX SHARE THE LOAD

“With gifts to buy, as well as events, dec­o­ra­tions, food and en­ter­tain­ing to ar­range, it’s im­por­tant that you don’t bear the full men­tal load your­self,” says Bal­larat-based psy­chol­o­gist gist Ellen Jack­son. “This week, make a list of all the ma­jor pre-christ­mas tasks and en­list help. En­cour­age your fam­ily to make Christ­mas prepa­ra­tions a team ef­fort.”

WEEK FIVE THINK ABOUT YOUR MONEY

“Fi­nances are a ma­jor source of stress for many fam­i­lies through­out the year,” Ellen adds. “Christ­mas gifts and fes­tiv­i­ties add fur­ther weight. This week, per­haps re­think gift-giv­ing to re­duce fi­nan­cial strain. Secret Santa keeps costs down, or you can re­strict gifts just to kids and talk to them about Santa’s lim­ited bud­get.”

WEEK FOUR JUST BREATHE

“When feel­ing over­whelmed, take the time to con­nect to your breath,” Lisa ad­vises. “Tak­ing nice, big, deep tho­racic breaths from your belly helps ac­ti­vate the parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem and calm the mind. So in those stress­ful mo­ments, re­mem­ber to breathe.”

WEEK THREE STRETCH IT OUT

“We can of­ten find our­selves feel­ing very stressed and our bod­ies full of ten­sion in the lead-up to Christ­mas,” says Lisa. “It is im­por­tant that we al­low our­selves the time to re­lax and re­lease the ten­sion from our bod­ies. A flex­i­ble body will help with a flex­i­ble mind. Head to a yoga class near you, or why not go for a stretch?”

WEEK TWO TAKE TIME FOR YOUR­SELF

“You’ll be busy and it might feel self-in­dul­gent to step away and fo­cus on you, but you can­not keep on top of your tasks and care for oth­ers if you’re drown­ing,” Ellen says. “Sched­ule a few hours for your­self this week. Have lunch with a friend, see a movie, take a trip to the beach or just sit in the sun and read. You’ll find your­self re­freshed, re­newed and ready to go.”

CHRIST­MAS WEEK BE PRESENT

“When the big day comes, make sure you en­joy the lit­tle mo­ments,” adds Ellen. “With so much go­ing on, it’s easy to get caught up in the ur­gency of try­ing to make ev­ery­thing run smoothly. The act of pay­ing at­ten­tion helps you to calm your body and mind, and to savour spe­cial mo­ments. Slow down, pause, breathe and no­tice what’s go­ing on around you. En­joy the chil­dren’s smiles, the fes­tive at­mos­phere and the great food. Con­grat­u­late your­self on get­ting to this point. You de­serve it!”

Re­lax with some yoga, stretch­ing and deep breath­ing. En­joy each mo­ment of the big day.

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