As well as all of its joy and festivities, we know that the Christmas season can also be a significant time of stress for many, leaving us feeling tense, tired and depleted. So, in this blog, we’re going to list a few simple ways to help you stay calm and promote your own wellbeing at Christmas.
The act of mindfulness is being aware of what’s happening in the moment; both in ourselves (such as our thoughts, emotions, memories and physical sensations), and what’s happening around us. It can form the foundation of self-care and encourages us to accept things as they are, thereby giving us the tools to help lower our stress levels over time.
At the heart of mindfulness is observing our own needs and to take positive action from it. This may be as simple as recognising that we need to schedule an early night if we feel tired and worn out from Christmas festivities.
Mindfulness also encourages us to really observe what we’re doing right now. So, If you’ve chosen to take a nice relaxing bath after a day of Christmas organising, make an effort to really notice and enjoy the sensations around you, such as the warmth of the water, the smells of any bath products you’re using, and perhaps the warm glow of a candle or two.
If you’re keen to make the most of mindfulness, there are plenty of guides online and in books for how to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life.
Take a Walk in Nature
Sometimes a change in scenery is all we need to shift our mood, and getting outdoors and going for a gentle walk in nature can be one of the best ways to do this. It’s believed that just 10 minutes of walking in nature can lower stress levels and improve mental health.
Whether you go for a walk in the woods, on the beach, through your local park, or just around the block, enjoy the opportunity to step out of the hustle and bustle of home life at Christmas, and soak up the calming influence of the outdoors.
Make Time for Some Gentle Exercise
Exercise is an important part of stress management. But, that doesn’t mean you have to commit to lengthy cardio sessions or intense gym workouts over the festive period if you simply don’t have the time or energy. If your motivation or energy levels are low, simply stretching your body can be enough to lift your mood and make your body feel a little more energised. This could take the form of some yoga or Pilates, but even just 10 minutes of gentle stretching when you wake up is better than nothing.
If you have more energy and you’re craving a slightly more intense workout but you’re short on time, try a 10 or 20 minute HIIT (Hight Intensity Interval Training) workout at home to get your blood pumping and those feel-good endorphins flowing!
Create a Calm Space
Whether it’s a whole room, or a quiet corner in the house, or even just your favourite armchair, creating your own dedicated calm space can be a beneficial way of putting aside any chaos at home and reminding our bodies and mind to relax.
Try to keep your calm space free from clutter, but allow it to contain anything that encourages you to feel peaceful and relaxed. For example, this could be your favourite book, some arts and crafts supplies, aromatherapy products, a cosy blanket, or even some of your favourite festive treats. Take a little time to create your calm space exactly as you’d like it, and then enjoy the benefit of retreating to it when you need.
Embrace Your Favourite Christmas Traditions
It’s important not to forget to have fun over the Christmas period. After all, doing things that bring us joy can have a hugely positive impact on our stress levels.
Take a moment to think about all of the festive traditions that you enjoy most, and carve out some time to incorporate them throughout the weeks running up to Christmas and New Year. This can be uniquely personal to you, and doesn’t have to be time-consuming or extravagant.
Whether it’s cosying up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and your favourite Christmas movie, or taking a drive to see your neighbourhood’s Christmas lights, or going to your local carol service, allow yourself to prioritise and savour the moments that mean the most to you.
Prioritise Self-Care and Treat Yourself to some Pampering
It’s not selfish or indulgent to carve out some time to relax and pamper yourself. Prioritising your own wellbeing is a necessary part of healthy living, and that’s especially true during the intensities of the festive season. Taking the time to relax and unwind can help to replenish our energy levels and to calm our thoughts if we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Self-care can be as simple as taking a relaxing bath, and perhaps adding a few drops of calming essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium or Ylang Ylang. Or, it could be enjoying a beauty treatment to make yourself feel good, such as a manicure or a hair treatment.
It probably comes as no surprise that here at Songbird Naturals, we’re big believers in the benefits of massage for self-care. Massage has a wonderful ability to relax both the body and mind, ease stress and tension, and improve our general mood. Whether you book in for a professional massage, or take a few moments to give yourself a massage at home, we think everyone should give it a go over the festive season and see how it can make a difference to your mood.
Two of our Massage Wax blends have been specifically formulated to ease feelings of stress and tension: our Calming Massage Wax, which contains a beautiful blend of Neroli, Mandarin, Cedar and Myrrh essential oils; and our Relaxation Massage Wax, which is a wonderfully soothing blend of Vetiver, Ylang Ylang and Petitgrain. We believe these blends can really enhance the relaxing benefits of the massage.
And finally, don’t forget it’s perfectly okay to say no to social invitations if you feel you need some time to yourself. Quality over quantity can be true for our social lives, too!
Embrace the Imperfections
Last but not least, it can be very liberating to let go of the idea of having the perfect Christmas. By all means plan your festivities in whichever way you choose, but accept that things may not go to plan. We know it’s easier said than done, but trying to not sweat the small stuff and to ‘go with the flow’ if plans go awry can be the difference between a stressful Christmas and a fun a joyful Christmas.
However you celebrate it, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy, peaceful and stress-free festive season.