How to stay on track through Christmas

How to keep the Christmas overwhelm at bay

    • Christmas is almost upon us. And while it can be a wonderful time of year, it can also be a stressful time of year.
    • The holidays should be joyous times filled with family and friends, but sometimes the very traditions that give meaning to this season also trigger old fears, hurts, and anxieties.
    • We are rushing off to social events and Christmas parties. Trying to fit them all in
    • We are battling the “Christmas rush” buying presents for the ones we love
    • We are cleaning the house like crazy
    • We are cooking up a storm to provide the feasts of feasts
    • We are crossing our fingers that everyone behaves themselves on the day
    • We are . . . . . . . . maybe a little bit stressed???

How to keep the Christmas overwhelm at bay

    • Christmas is almost upon us. And while it can be a wonderful time of year, it can also be a stressful time of year.
    • The holidays should be joyous times filled with family and friends, but sometimes the very traditions that give meaning to this season also trigger old fears, hurts, and anxieties.
    • We are rushing off to social events and Christmas parties. Trying to fit them all in
    • We are battling the “Christmas rush” buying presents for the ones we love
    • We are cleaning the house like crazy
    • We are cooking up a storm to provide the feasts of feasts
    • We are crossing our fingers that everyone behaves themselves on the day
    • We are . . . . . . . . maybe a little bit stressed???

Make a plan of action for December & stick to it

December is going to fly by, so take a moment to plan it out..

What parties do you have?

School events?

Who would you like to get gifts for that are NOT in your family? (hair dressers, teachers, etc) Write it all down.

 Let Yourself Say No: This holiday season give yourself a gift… permission to say “NO.” If you know of a planned activity or event that will stress you out, it is okay to pass. Have a yearly tradition that you are starting to dread? Maybe a family meeting is in order, it could be time to try something new.

Do you have to catch up with everyone before Christmas- create things to look forward to after Christmas!

Ask for Help: If you get overwhelmed, it is okay to ask for help.

Take advantage of free gift wrapping offered

Get a babysitter one afternoon, so you can go out and get things done.

Spread it out through December so you aren’t lumped with everything in one week.

Embrace your lazy side

Stress is usually the biggest culprit behind the holiday blues. Stress does bad, bad, bad things to your body, places toxins into your bloodstream, whacks out your heart and other organs. It produces hormones that can change your personality from calm and loving to very angry and impatient for no real reason that you can’t control. YOU ARE IN CONTROL

So your biggest chance at combating holiday anxiety and depression is to eliminate as much stress as you can. Take a red pen and start crossing things out that are not important. See how many you can remove.

Don’t place too much pressure on yourself – Have a list “Would be nice if I have time”

Watch the Inner Critic who rears her ugly head this time of year

She likes to convince you that you are lazy, weak, stupid, unlovable, ugly, unsuccessful, and basically every other insult you have called yourself over the years. There is no rationale behind his statements. She just likes to make you feel insecure. And she does a great job of it during the holidays. This is her season! But if you watch out for her, and identify her voice before you go on believing her lies, you will save a bit of the self-esteem and confidence you will need to get through your holiday get-togethers.

Be sure to laugh & have fun!

Laughing is as important as eating lots of salmon and spinach (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that our brain needs) and regular exercise. Humour is a powerful healing element because it allows us to see a situation from the right perspective.

Be more mindful & choose to respond differently when you feel overwhelmed

Go through the holidays in a healthier manner. Decide to accept the reality some of the Christmas craziness and choose to respond differently when things (inevitably) became stressful.

When anxiety strikes, it’s easy to stuff feelings down by eating. Stock up on healthy snacks and non-alcoholic beverages that are low sugar

Post the question “Why?” on the fridge to help remind you of your goals before you indulge. If you really want that treat, then proceed; but if you’re eating because you’re anxious, try to sooth yourself with a more healthy activity

When you feel stressed- Take a hot bubble bath or call a good friend, magazine with a coffee, sit outside and close your eyes and let the sun kiss your face, enjoy nature, 10 min meditation, exercise, go for a walk, do an activity you love!

Even when not in all-out crisis mode, this form of self-care helps maintain a more peaceful perspective. By thinking of these calming activities ahead of time, you can know exactly what to do when stressful situations appear.

Can’t pour from an empty cup so take time out for you!

Don’t buy into the drama

Quote I like- Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”

Unfortunately for a large percentage of us, there always seems to be some type of tension over the dinner table. There seems to be some kind of drama that threatens to spoil the festivities. Don’t get caught up in it. Decide ahead of time that you will not respond.

Stop striving for perfection

Christmas is about being with the ones that you love. And the ones that we love, are just happy to be celebrating with us. They don’t care if your roast isn’t perfect. They don’t care if your house doesn’t look like a photo shoot .What they do care about is spending time with you. They want to relax and enjoy themselves and they want to see you being relaxed and enjoying yourself as well. So let go of the need to host the perfect Christmas and enjoy hosting a happy Christmas instead.

Bring a plate: There is nothing more Australian than the concept of bringing a plate. So start allocating certain dishes to your family members and reduce the stress

Simplify the menu unless you LOVE to cook and want to do it willingly:  overabundance of food on the dinner table (and a multitude of leftovers being left-over). Try simplifying it down to just one roast (and maybe a BBQ chicken heated up), two roast veges and two green veges, and one dessert. Trust me, your / our waistlines will thank you for it

Keep your expectations in check

Just know that    “There is no such thing as a perfect holiday.” Something will go wrong. My brother-in-law will say something inappropriate at the family dinner. Gifts will get lost in the mail.. The ornaments will not all be evenly spaced on the tree—and it will be okay.

Giving gifts should not come with strings attached. Not your problem if you don’t get the thankyou you want, says more about the person receiving than you.

Keep a meltdown journal.

When something or someone inevitably pushes your buttons, make note of it in a “meltdown” journal. Include details about what occurred before the meltdown and record if you were hungry, tired, lonely, or hormonal. Writing it all down helps you recognize patterns and also serves as a safe way to vent your frustrations.

Breathing Activity to destress

Slowing down your breath is one of those easy, simple strategies to boost your mood that seems too easy and simple to work. But it does. Because the first thing we do, as a sort of knee-jerk reaction, when we are stressed is speed up our breathing, and start breathing from the chest instead of the diaphragm, which supplies more oxygen to our brain cells. I use the most basic of breathing exercises called the “Four Step” method. You don’t have to do anything but count to four as you breathe in, count to four holding your breath, count to four breathing out, and count to four while resting. Then do it again.

How to not BLOW OUT your waistline

Before going out create rules and boundaries for yourself

1-2 glasses of wine OR dessert- choose 1 not all

Eat low carb meal before you go so you aren’t tempted to eat all the carby foods on the table

Decide which parties are more important and choose a few, not all where you are out every night because when you are tired you let your guard down and cannot make decisions and then you eat food that you normally wouldn’t and that are detrimental to your goals.

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