For a festival of peace and goodwill it seems to manage to create a lot of stress and hardship. So how can you ensure you enjoy the festive season rather than feeling like you’ve been ‘sleighed’! As always we are concerned about researcher wellbeing, so here are some tips for you> All obvious? So how come you don’t do them!
Shorter days provide us with less daylight hours and your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy. We often have to keep going but we need to accept we will slow down over winter. To help keep your energy levels up try to eat regular meals/healthy snacks every three to four hours, rather than large meals. Regular exercise can give you an energy boost and make you feel less tired.
Take a break
Challenge yourself to not do any work related activities from Christmas Eve till New Year’s Day. It’s only modern technology that has let us tune into our working lives, 24/7, so make sure you really have a rest from it and don’t be tempted to peek at your emails.
Surviving family relationships
We can feel under pressure to have the perfect time which leads to unrealistic expectations and then disappointment. Do you really expect everyone to get along without any tensions and for all problems to disappear? Be realistic in your plans and accept that things may go wrong and some people will never see eye to eye. Try to minimise risks but accept you cannot eradicate them altogether.
For anyone that has taken part in any mindfulness training you will know what I mean. Focus on each moment and enjoy the here and now. Don’t dwell on other things or wish you were somewhere else. It’s called the present for a reason so make the most of it!
Half an hour of ‘me’ time
Often we feel forced to socialise over Christmas, sometimes with relatives we don’t get along with. Try and spend half an hour each day, on your own, doing what you enjoy in a relaxed environment. You may already do this without knowing: walking the dog, reading a book, listening to soothing music, so make sure this happens each day or start to develop the habit.
Listen to your body
Your body will signal when it is full but often we choose to override it so try to go back to being aware of it and don’t over eat or drink. Remember the festive season is a marathon so pace yourself so you can enjoy every day.
Social media can cause anxiety so try to take a break from that as well. All news feeds tell us gloomy stories and forecast the worst case scenarios. That can unsettle us and make us lose hope in the future. Worrying about things that may not happen and over which we have no control just drains us so try to reduce time spent on bad news.
Water, water everywhere
Keep hydrated by regularly drinking water even in cold weather. While you are on a break see if you can drink the suggested 2 litres a day and get into the habit.
Anyway, good luck with all that, I’ll be in Tenerife! 🙂
That’s my way of coping