With the busiest season of the year coming up, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your self-care. Whatever stage of life you’re in – preconception, pregnancy, motherhood, or menopause – there are many ways to manage the overwhelm at Christmas that are well within your control.
Please let us introduce to you our ‘Twelve Days of Managing Overwhelm’ – 12 actions you can take whenever it all gets a little too much. These are short, easy ideas to fit into your life in this festive season. And remember – you are your own true love!
This Christmas season, I give to myself:
1. 6 deep breaths per minute to calm my nervous system, restore my balance, reduce anxiety and improve my energy level. Belly breathe instead of chest breathe: inhaling for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 8. These little tricks will make your chest feel lighter and help you stand taller too.
2. An energising start to the day with a cup of lemon and hot water; apple cider vinegar diluted with hot water or a yummy green smoothie. Any of these will set my digestive system up for the day with the added benefit of taking away that ‘full-up’ feeling and increasing my energy for the day ahead. And while we’re at it, don’t forget to keep up my water intake – at least 2 litres of filtered water a day.
3. 10 minutes of meditation to stop my mind racing for a while. The evidence for meditation and mindfulness is overwhelming – it helps calm the nervous system, improves the immune system (much needed in the season of colds & coughs); reduces cortisol release (the stress hormone) and improves blood sugar control.
4. Nourishing foods for my body and soul. Winter is the season of hearty soups and hot drinks but also lots of sugar and processed foods. I know my body only works as well as the food I put into it, so I will eat organic, fresh food to help my digestion, my mental clarity and my skin and hair to glow.
5. A nap. Sleep is SO important and an additional 20 minutes snuck into the afternoon will increase my alertness and reset and restore my brain. Everything seems more do-able after a power nap. I also give myself earlier bedtimes, so I have a better chance of a full night’s sleep. I also make my bedroom like a cave: dark, the right temperature and no distractions from tech, to help reduce my stress hormones and allow me to reset and re charge my batteries.
6. The gift of choosing where to spend my time and energy. Checking the ‘to-do’ list twice to see what’s important by sitting down each night for 5 minutes and planning out the next day. Giving myself time and space to breathe.
7. Exercise: for my body of course but most importantly, for my mind. Doing nothing more than focusing on the moment & those endorphins afterwards are so worth it. It will also improve my immune system and help prevent disease.
8. Some time outside in the fresh air to stop a moment, clear my mind, take some deep breaths and notice the sounds around me. Taking a 20-minute walk outside is even better – take a break from the busyness and notice the weather instead of watching it through the windows. Wear flat, supportive shoes; pull the crown of my head up; pull in my core and take short strides to help my body find its natural alignment, tone my abdominals and reduce strain.
9. A warm herbal tea drunk in a quiet corner for ten minutes. Caffeine-free coffee is almost as bad as caffeinated as the chemicals used to make it decaf are still present and it’s hard for my body to detoxify them. Peppermint, chamomile, nettle and spearmint tea are good for lots of things such as supporting digestion, boosting my immune system and helping to stabilise my hormones.
10. The gift of some ‘me-time’. Whether I choose a massage, a manicure, a long bath with Epsom salts (to relax my body and aid magnesium absorption), an early night or half an hour with a book (or all these things!) – this time to myself will make me better able to focus on others as it will give me the positivity and lift I need to stay on top of everything.
11. A gratitude journal to write in before going to sleep. Choosing just three things a day to be grateful for will stop my mind churning over negative thoughts and give it something positive to think about at the end of the day.
12. Some simple stretches. You never realise how tight your neck, hips and shoulders are until you stretch them out. A little downward-dog; rotating my neck side to side slowly or pointing my toes to stretch my feet will all help my body expand and give more space to breathe.
A final note to self:
Coming back to these 12 ways to manage overwhelm will help me to look forward to the season ahead knowing I have the tools and the time available to keep me feeling positive and in control.