Ahhh Christmas. The most magical time of the year, right? Time to relax and enjoy the festivities, surrounded by family, mince pies – and piles of presents.
Except … wait.
Christmas can actually be bloody stressful!
The family have had one glass of Bucks Fizz too many and the bickering has started.
You seem to have eaten all the mince pies (although you’re not entirely sure how that happened) and feel like a failure, not too mention majorly bloated.
And, after spoiling everyone rotten, you’re not entirely sure how you’re going to be able to pay the bills in January.
It’s all happened to us at some point, but I’m here to make sure that you can get through Christmas 2017 smoothly – and actually have a great time.
Quiet time is everything (in moderation)
If your family drives you crazy (and that’s totally normal), make sure you have somewhere you can escape to. Whether it’s your bedroom or your favourite yoga studio/gym/park, find a sanctuary that you can take a few deep breaths and unwind a little.
I always am sure to source some new books on my kindle and a good meditation app (still loving Insight Timer over here!). My quiet time is non-negotiable, so if I have space to unroll my mat and a bed I can read, meditate or nap in, I’m happy.
Out The House
Conversely, make sure you have somewhere you can go outside where you’re staying. I relish the thought of being all cosy and not leaving the house from Christmas Eve until NYE, but in reality cabin fever sinks in pretty quick for me!
Even if you’re out of town, track down some nice places to visit – whether it’s a park where you can get some fresh air, or a fitness venue where you can banish those winter blues. Even if the more traditional tourist venues are closed over the holidays, it is still possible to do some sightseeing!
Get off the diet bandwagon – and enjoy every bite instead
Back in my ‘dieting days’ (dark times, my friends), navigating myself through Christmas parties and the Big Day itself was the biggest challenge. It always seemed to be a very fine balancing act, such as:
- Trying not to eat anything while still being social (and drinking loads to compensate for the feelings of hunger and awkwardness)
- Doing your best to ‘look normal’ by just painstakingly choosing a couple of hors d’oeuvres, and not really enjoying the party because you can’t stop thinking about the rest of the food on the table
- Overeating to feel comforted and in control, then realising just how out of control that action was. Spend the rest of the evening feeling uncomfortable and disgusting
I have been there. Every scenario. And it’s miserable!
I remember the first Christmas when I discovered intuitive eating. It was magical – honestly, I could have cried. I had only just quit dieting for good (October/November time if I remember rightly), and it was indescribably wonderful to actually be able to eat what I wanted, with no guilt or regret or discomfort.
My fabulous mother-in-law made me a Christmas cake all to myself. It lasted for well over a month, as I no longer felt the need to binge.
It was also the first year that Terry’s introduced the Snowball (a White Chocolate Orange, which hasn’t resurfaced in a good few years unfortunately!) and it was the best thing I had ever tasted. I had a good few of those, and enjoyed them without feeling any shame.
The best advice I can give to you is to eat consciously:
- Notice the taste of the food and how you respond to it
- Observe how you feel when you start to get hungry, and any physical cues you may get
- Equally, notice when you start to get full (for me this is when I stop tasting and enjoying the meal so much)
- Explore how it feels emotionally to pause and check-in with yourself when you are about to eat
- Figure out what you are really craving – salt/sweet/spicy/sour/crunchy/smooth etc. It might surprise you!
Try and buy gifts as mindfully as you hopefully now eat. It’s all too easy to overspend because you don’t know what to get someone so you instead purchase lots of irrelevant and meaningless presents.
Try to be a bit more conscious about what you are going to buy. Have a few ideas written down of things you could get your favourite people before you go shopping. This will help you slow down and think about what they would like – and stop you panic-buying rubbish!
If money is a big issue then maybe try handmaking some gifts. This is such a thoughtful gesture, and there are tons of ideas online! Etsy also has lots of beautiful handcrafted products from small and independent makers (definite bonus).
Relax knowing you are doing the best that you can, and have a wonderful holiday! Christmas is an opportunity to connect and unite, much like the work we do on our yoga mat. Catch up with family and friends and enjoy some well-deserved time away from your desk!
Make it your intention this year to slow down this holiday, and most importantly to look after yourself. If you feel like you want or need some extra support, get in touch . I am currently taking on a few more 1:1 Health Coaching and/or Private Yoga clients. I would love to help!