How do you plan to spend the holiday season?

A time to enjoy summer outdoors, spend time with friends and family, read a good book, go camping on the river or take a holiday away in a destination away from the day to day?

Or do you feel your neck become tense or your stomach lurch because you haven’t completed your shopping, you are hosting family events and don’t have a menu? There may also be many who are celebrating and sharing Christmas between multiple households and need to ferry children, partners across the day.

A stress-free holiday is likely preferred by most, but we know this is not always the reality. Negotiating the holiday season with a plan to prioritise what is most important so, you can alleviate stress and restore the holiday season to a time for fun, and recharging our batteries is a goal we would like to help you achieve.

Start with how you would like to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally at the end of the holiday season. Do you imagine feeling physically energised, emotionally happy, calm, and mentally decluttered?

Look at our holiday season tips….

  1. Disconnect from work. Turn off your phone, your emails and let people know you are away. Trust that team members and colleagues at work are capable to manage in your absence. Give yourself time to handover before you start your holiday.
  2. Plan family events where the preparation, coordination and clean-up are shared. Encourage a relaxed environment of fun, games, rest time and easy mingling so everyone can take a turn with their favourite family members.
  3. For those celebrating Christmas, if you find shopping for gifts time consuming or expensive, save time and money by arranging a Kris Kringle that you could also incorporate into a game.
  4. Family time may trigger anxiety or stress if there are relationship difficulties. Choose to spend time with those you love and are easy to be around. You may decide to see some family on Christmas Day and others on Boxing Day.
  5. If you experience loneliness over the holiday season, there are many volunteering organisations who would welcome helpful volunteers. Research has found those who are helpers, experience less stress, better emotional health, and self-worth. Helping others over the holidays can provide a sense of purpose and meaning.
  6. Our lives can be run by our schedules filled with work meetings, deadlines, family commitments and the everyday run of the mill errands. Author Olga Mecking recommends practicing Niksen or doing nothing. This may be star gazing or listening to music, sitting under a tree, or enjoying time on a swing seat or hammock.
  7. Holidays can mean more wine, beer, or cocktails. We know alcohol is a depressant and impacts our moods, exacerbating anxiety and depression. If you are drinking in excess to cope, moderate the amount you are drinking and find alternative mechanisms to help you cope.
  8. Spend time in green and blue spaces. Research shows that spending time in nature protects our mental and emotional health. Take time to immerse yourself by walking along a river, a beach, taking walks in nature and exercising outdoors.
  9. Cultivate gratitude by saying thank you to someone who has helped you, explaining how they helped.
  10. Practice connecting to your 5 senses regularly. When we use our senses to connect, we engage in the moment and declutter our minds. Take a couple of minutes each day to:

Notice 5 things you can see.

Notice 4 things you can feel.

Notice 3 things you can hear.

Notice 2 things you can smell.

Notice 1 thing you can taste.

Sharmi can be contacted for wellbeing coaching and consulting on scantwell@bebendigo.com.au  or 0419 285 637.

If you or someone you know needs crisis help over the holiday season, Bendigo Psychiatric Triage can be contacted on 1300 363 788 and Lifeline is available on 131114 or lifeline.org.au for their chat service.

References

www.healthdirect.gov.au/beating-christmas-stress-and-anxiety

Tips for Coping at Christmas

Niksen: unleash the power of doing nothing

https://positivepsychology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Five-Senses-Worksheet.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2020/09/30/why-doing-good-boosts-health-and-well-being/?sh=1c5e12453514


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