So, for me at least, the holiday season is here; I can officially listen to Christmas songs, and my elf pyjama’s and slippers have come out of hiding. While Christmas might conjure up images of an snow covered idyll on television, for many of us the reality is very different, signalling a time of aches and pains, stresses and strains. So how can you make your Christmas a little more stress-free this year?
The following 10 steps are tactics that I’ve adopted over the years: they are not a hard and fast guarantee of a stress free Christmas, and are not a definitive list, but I can promise you that they don’t involve any mindfulness or change of diet. They are just things that you can do with little effort, in any order or quantity you chose to ensure that you have the merriest Christmas possible.
- Prevention is better than cure: If you’re already starting to get stressed, stiff shoulders, headaches, or back twinges then consider getting support for it now, before it get’s any worse and spoils the Christmas season for you. I’m biased of course, but treatments like Bowen and Reflexology can make a huge difference – but you might respond to to another complementary therapy so just try something rather than push on through the pain.
- Stop buying so many presents: Have a think now about cutting back on unnecessary presents – the ones where you end up giving a bottle of wine and receiving a bottle of wine. Talk to your friends and agree not to buy Christmas presents, or perhaps just to do a Secret Santa in order to keep your costs down? Talk to other family members about whether or not you need to exchange gifts. You may be surprised about just how many people feel the same as you and thank-you for bringing the subject up. And it’s not too late to do it – even if you’ve already bought gifts you can return them.
- Balance your shopping bags: If you are going out shopping then balance your bags to avoid unnecessary stress on your back and shoulders. Don’t forget to take your own bags with you, and even consider taking a rucksack.
- Wrap standing up: Do your wrapping standing up at the kitchen worktop. This is a much more natural position, and will put less stress on your back and neck.
- Re-think the Christmas food shop: Christmas is now a time of excess, but it doesn’t have to be – it is, after-all, only the shops who are encouraging us to buy more and to stock up for Christmas. And let’s be realistic – it is only one day where the shops are shut, so before you go out and fill your trolley like the world is about to end, remember that you are only going 24 hours without access to a food shop.
- Reconsider your Christmas dinner: If the idea of cooking Christmas dinner already gets your heart racing with the cost and the effort, then re-think it. Does everyone actually enjoy the turkey with all the trimmings and having to eat it for days on end? If not, then why not buy something smaller, something that is quicker to cook like a Guinea Fowl, or a really nice local reared free-range chicken? Think about cutting down on the amount of food you actually cook for Christmas Dinner, and ask for help with the preparation and / or cooking – it is a sign of strength and not weakness to realise that you can’t do it all on your own.
- Move around: Christmas day itself can be sedentary affair so make sure you are getting up and moving around – a walk might not be something you want to do, but getting up and moving around for 5 minutes in every hour can make a difference. Not only can this prevent aches and pains, but it will aid digestion too.
- Avoid the lull: Especially when you’ve got kids, Christmas can be over before it’s even begun, with everything unwrapped before breakfast, leaving the rest of the day feeling a little lack-lustre. Why not spread the day out? Stockings before breakfast, presents from FC after breakfast, and presents underneath the tree after lunch? You spread out the excitement and anticipation slowly over the course of the day rather than crash and burn in a few minutes and a flurry of wrapping paper.
- Say No: If an endless round of Christmas visit’s or parties just add to your list of things you have to worry about, then say no. Yes, I know it easier said than done, but sometimes you just have to plunge in and test it out – you may find that the world doesn’t stop, that people won’t miss you or be offended, and that you might, just might actually feel a lot better for that bit of unexpected peace and quiet.
- Eat and drink well: We’ve already mentioned the excesses of Christmas food and drink, and it can be tricky to manage this over the festive period, but what we put into our bodies really does affect our health and well-being. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but instead slip in that extra glass of water in between drinks, and serve yourself up an extra portion of fruit, veg, or salad, just to keep your fluid content up, and those toxins down to a minimum.
If you know the affect that Christmas and all that it brings, the good, the bad, and the ugly, can have on you, then now is the time to be proactive. Don’t let yourself be pressurised and don’t judge yourself against the Christmas sold to you by all the Christmas adverts and the endless ‘home-made’ / ‘home-cooked’ Christmas programmes. Have the Christmas that you want this year,
For more information about how a Bowen or Reflexology treatment may help you, then please contact me. I offer treatments from my treatment room in Woolpit, or at Neal’s Yard in Bury St Edmunds (where you receive 15% off in the shop on any purchases made on the day of your treatment).