3 Ways to Have yourself a Calm Christmas full of Joy

3 Ways to Have yourself a Calm Christmas full of Joy

The sense of nostalgia does something peculiar with our brains around Christmas. Usually we are a far cry from achieving any semblance of a calm Christmas. There is a notion that we must create the most perfect experience for everyone all around us, no matter the cost. The financial cost is the obvious one, where many of us stretch ourselves up to, and beyond, our limits. But the toll on our health and wellbeing, thanks to not being able to say “no” to anyone or anything, can leave us burnt out come the jolly holidays.

How can we avoid this and still enjoy the festive season? Especially when we’ve just experienced an extremely busy year on the back of the tumultuous time of the peak of the pandemic. Well there are a few ways we can have ourselves a calm Christmas full of joy….

1. SOCIAL BOUNDARIES

FOMO (Fear of missing out) is such a real thing. It doesn’t always serve us well to do everything and be everywhere that’s asked of us. It’s not selfish to approach social engagements on your terms. You might even get a better sense of calm and balance by making sure your choices are in line with how you feel at that given time.

Connecting with friends and family is an essential part of our wellbeing. However, the intense nature of festive gatherings can be a bit too much for some people. Whether we drink/don’t drink, stay late/leave early, pop-in for a bit/don’t go at all – do what works for you. Acknowledge the bigger impact of your actions and decide what is the best choice for you. And you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone else either.

While it’s so important to observe your own boundaries, we should also respect when others adhere to their boundaries. We shouldn’t take their actions personally, but acknowledge that they are simply looking after their own wellbeing in the best way that works for them.

2. FINANCIAL BOUNDARIES

This is a tricky one. We want to indulge our loved ones, but setting reasonable budgets for ourselves is so important. We are all familiar with stories of kids playing with the box that the toy came in more than playing with the toy itself. While this isn’t always the case, sometimes we need to manage ours, and others expectations but still have fun while we do that. There are also so many ‘experience’ gifts we can give that are either free, or low-cost that can create the best and most lasting memories for children. They are usually more sustainable too.

3. SELF-CARE

Being present for yourself and your loved ones can be challenging when you’re stressed or anxious. In reality though, that’s what our loved ones are looking for, much more than the glittery, expensive gift that has made you stressed. The knock-on effect of stress is that you are not living in the moment nor experiencing the joy that you could.

Savouring the moment, and doing simple things in a mindful way helps to reduce stress and keep you in the moment. Creating a ritual of having a calm cup of tea (or equivalent) and relaxing while enjoying it is within reach for many of us. It can take just a few minutes but has a big impact on our wellbeing.

Journaling is a really effective way to check in with yourself and stay grounded, present and self-aware. It also helps you stay in tune with yourself and allows you to spot what might be causing stress, or derailing your usually healthy habits. It can help you to tweak your behaviour to better serve yourself too.

Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga and walking in nature are other ways great to relax and take care of your body and mind, particularly in busy and stressful times. These could be done with some of your loved ones instead of a larger social outing that might feel stressful.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Whatever your approach to the holiday season, you should be enjoying it and not simply facilitating others to have a fabulous time. Be kind to yourself. Take a little time to ask yourself where you could increase your joy so that you enjoy the festive cheer to your max, and very importantly, enjoy it with authenticity.

Wellness Community at its Best – WellNow Walks

WellNow Walks

I really wanted to grow a real-life community around the core values of WellNow. Healthy nutrition and lifestyle leading to greater overall health is well recognised. But the importance of support and accountability is also an integral factor in succeeding with any behaviour change. So creating a community of like-minded people made complete sense.

Photo credit for this and main group photo: Sinead Andrews

I wanted this community to be in-person. As beneficial as technology has been in remaining connected through the pandemic, the energy created by meeting in person cannot be replicated. This is how WellNow Walks came about as an idea.

The first WellNow Walks was held on May 28th with a strong turnout, for a 7.30am start on a Saturday morning. We couldn’t have got a nicer day for it. Clear blue skies, sunshine and little or no breeze. After a brief welcome chat we kicked off down the pier.

What I liked about it was the ease with which you could move around talking to different people. There were a number of people who came solo, not knowing anyone. Others who came in small groups, some of whom I knew and others I didn’t. The lovely thing was how everyone immediately got chatting. Before we knew it we had done the pier and back. We went on to the 40ft at which point we stopped to take in the gorgeous day and how quiet it still was. The pauses in the walk allowed everyone to re-group and maybe chat to someone you hadn’t spoken to.

When we got back to the start of the pier most of the group grabbed a quick coffee and chatted before heading off at about 9am.

Photo credit: Sinead Andrews

“Such a lovely start to the day. Great to have some time for myself before kids activities kicked in! Lovely too to meet lots of different people.” – WellNow Walks participant

And some more lovely feedback:

“Thanks so much for organising the event, Suzanne. A really great start to the day. Everyone was so friendly and there was a great atmosphere. I’d definitely be interested in doing it again.” – WellNow Walks participant

The energy on the day and the feedback afterwards was so positive that I have decided to run the next WellNow Walks on Saturday June 25th. It will be the same walk as before, starting at 7.30am at the start of the East pier in Dun Laoghaire. I’d love to see you there. Click on the image below to sign up.

WellNow Walks

5 Easy ways to energise yourself post-covid

5 ways to Re-energise

Marking the two year anniversary of the first covid lockdown, the three kids and I had our own turn with covid. This was on the back of what felt like a long winter. Or should that be a long two years of pandemic life. We were happy that it wasn’t too bad, and were thankful for many things (vaccines being one!), but it still managed to knock the energy out of us in a way I wasn’t quite expecting. I wanted to focus on ways to re-energise yourself post-covid, not just for me, but to help as many people out of this fog as possible.

Coming out of the haze of that has made me have to dig deep for energy and tap into as much personal resilience as I can. I want to feel my energy soar again and feel joy and excitement. Something I think has been lacking for some time now for most people.

I’m taking a health coaching approach for myself to tackle this need for self-care. Just to clarify, I don’t have long covid, I’m merely feeling wiped out from two tough years topped off with a (mild) dose of covid. These 5 easy ways to re-energise yourself post-covid should help me and I’m working on each of them. I figured they could help you too, so here they are:

Re-energise post covid listen to your body
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

1. Listen to your body

At some point in the day that works for you, sit for at least 5 minutes and do a quick body scan. See how you’re feeling. Are you tense, in pain, tired or generally lacking energy? Is your mind racing, or is your body tired? Or both? Don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you. If you’re tired, try to lie down even for 10 minutes before it feels debilitating. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, see what tasks you can cut down on even temporarily. Also, see who you can ask for help from. Don’t endure hardship if it is avoidable because you will hit the wall eventually.

2. Rest

If you are feeling tired, try to schedule in small breaks frequently. And if you need it, take longer lie-downs, especially if you are recovering from any ill-health. If you still feel tired, the first thing I would suggest is talking to your doctor to rule out any medical issues. Then, assuming all is ok, try to look at the next three points and they should help regain energy – nourish, movement and connection.

A rest of some kind in the morning and afternoon will help your body recover from the exertion of your normal daily routine and your energy will grow. If you feel you need a sleep, try to do this before lunch time so as not to impact your night’s sleep. You may only need to do this for a few days, but for some it might take a little longer.

If you are back working in an office, you most likely won’t have somewhere to lie-down. So, try to switch off and take a break where you can. If you’re hybrid working or working from home, you will have more flexibility on this front. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your manager and fill them in on where you’re at. There’s no point in working through because ultimately it will catch up on you and you will take longer to recover.

3. Nourish

Eating a balanced diet, full of a variety of vegetables and lots of fibre will give you the right kind of energy your body needs to stay healthy and well. I always love the idea of “eating a rainbow” of fruit and veg, but also think about trying to get 30 different fruit and veg into your meals across a week as a goal. When it comes to protein, aim for lean and organic if possible. Reducing red meat is good to consider, and including oily fish is also helpful. If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you are eating the right amount of protein to keep healthy and energised. Staying hydrated has such a positive impact on energy too. You can talk to your health care provider about whether supplements might be right for you.

Re-energise yourself with gentle movement
Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

4. Move – gently

We all know that exercise is good for us, but when we are feeling properly exhausted it can be the last thing we can face. It’s ok to take a break from it for a short time from exercise. But try to incorporate gentle movement to ease you back into it and help your mental health too. Walking is such a great way to do this, and it gives you fresh air too. Also, practising yoga can be a relaxing way to move your body in a way that it needs. And Pilates is a great way to build strength back into your body.

Re-energise yourself through connection with others
Photo by Kitera Dent on Unsplash

5. Connect

Surrounding ourselves with people who energise us and lift us up is a great way to build our resilience and start to feel like ourselves again. Meeting people when you feel low can sometimes feel challenging, but the right people can really give us a  boost. Consider who you think will make you feel good. You can also limit your connections to a small group of people for a little while, maybe meeting one at a time. You could meet for a walk and this helps to have a cut-off to the meeting too. Setting these boundaries helps to keep you feeling in control and will limit a feeling of overwhelm. Meeting new people can also invigorate you, so consider joining a club or group that will expose you to like-minded people.

Having a crossover of any of the above will really help too. For example, joining a yoga class will help you mind/body connection, but also help by surrounding yourself with new people. An outdoor yoga class will get you some great self-care points. Planning your approach with some thought can maximise the return on your time and get you back to feeling yourself soon.

These points are all suggestions to approaching getting out of the post-covid period (or living with covid) funk that so many of us are feeling and help to boost our resilience. I hope some of these suggestions work for you. If you feel you need a bit more help or guidance creating a plan that works for you, get in touch. I can book you in for a free discovery call to see if 1:1 coaching is the right fit for you.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact
Drop me a line to arrange your free discovery call at suzanne@thewellnowco.com

Feature image Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash