By now most of us have well and truly realised December has arrived. Not necessarily from the weather (as this day and age this time of the year can just as well be white, green or gray) but from the slightly frantic energy in the air. The Christmas ads are on full gear, invitations to various festive parties are coming from all directions, and the general anticipation of Santa/days off/opportunity to just sleep-eat-sleep is tangible. While all this is happening to the soundtrack of non-stop Christmas jingles, illuminated by various Christmas lights everywhere, and often fuelled by more drinks and nibbles than recommended and reasonable, it is no wonder how the end of the year can leave us a little weary and run down, despite all the fun.
Below are few of my tried and tested tips on how to stay sane, healthy-ish and keep reasonable energy levels all through December. A little bit of effort and self-discipline is required but it guarantees you will be able to make the most of the season.
- Keep up with your water intake
Obvious one but hands up, who feels like reaching out for the water bottle when the temperature nears zero? I have noticed that since moving back to the UK from Cyprus my water intake has gone down a lot, and as a result I have started get the occasional headache which never used to happen. We all know basics: 2-3 litres a day, more if you are drinking coffee/tea/alcohol and/or exercising. Warm water with some lemon or ginger in it counts too!
- Take a moment – or two – every day to be quiet
This is even more important during December than other months I find. Even on a good day social media updates can do your head in, especially if everybody in your circles is talking about the same subject (i.e. gift shopping, parties, decoration, how much they like/hate this time of the year.) Try to shut down – properly shut down – your phone when you get home in the evenings well before bed time, and do resist the temptation to check it the first thing in the morning. Giving yourself just 10 minutes of proper quiet time, stretching, relaxing the facial muscles and the rest of the body and focusing on the breath will calm the mind and give you some much needed space.
- Ease off the pressure from yourself – The nature is taking it easy too
There is no denying, it is cold and dark in the Northern Hemisphere. The shortest day falls onto the 21st December and from there on the days will slowly start get longer again. Whilst hibernating is not really an option for most of us, we can still be comfortable with the knowledge that natural to feel a slower and less energetic than usual. Be kind to yourself and slow down. Think of few things that are essential and things that bring you joy, and let those be your guide on how to navigate the festive season. Not all parties need attending to and some things can be finalised next year. If it feels appropriate, swap your usual vinyasa flow class to a gentler yin or restorative type, and as much as possible, give yourself a little bit more time to get through the everyday stuff. With this in mind (and executed), being merry and jolly flows in naturally.
- …and about all those gifts?
Ok, some people might really need something, or they let you in on wish for something – if it is affordable, in line with your values (just saying… gifting should not be about you but also, are you comfortable with the gift you are buying?), go for it. Lacking ideas, think about the immaterial – a massage, a full house cleaning or a dry cleaning for five shirts, a yoga class or a month’s pass..? You can find a variety of services in all price ranges so make a point of taking time to google (or looking around at the small businesses around you) to find out what is available.
And most importantly – enjoy the festive season and what it can offer to you! Be selective, be true to yourself and most importantly, be kind to yourself and to others.
What are your tips to navigate through the December festive season or are you rather indifferent? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!