LIFE

7 self care tips to reignite the magic of Christmas

MEL NOAKES
The Self Care Coach

Christmas is a beautiful crazy time of the year.  It’s the season for celebrating, gifting, stressing, partying and catching up with people you perhaps haven’t had the time to earlier in the year.   It’s all so easy then to let your own self care slip.

I see it every year.

Hundreds of women furiously in the gym trying to get into their slinky black dress, exhausting themselves, only to overindulge at Christmas and start the new year on a low. Or conversely, women who fight their way through the gym every day and even on Christmas don’t allow themselves to relax and enjoy this special time.

To truly enjoy the magic of this time it’s important to step back and consider what’s really important.  We don’t call it the ‘silly season’ for just any old reason! but when you step back from the excess, the chocolate, the running around and the late nights – what we’re really looking to do is;

a) connect and

b) finish and start a year well.

Oh!

Connection is what humans crave.  We want to belong and feel cared for and care for.  Whether that’s with friends when you’re racing around and doing the ‘we must catch up before Christmas’ or worrying about your family having the ‘perfect’ Christmas day – you’re simply looking to create a deeper connection and make people feel good.

Ending and starting a year well is also inherent in this time.  We’re aware, usually unconsciously, that the year is closing and so we look to wrap up as many things as possible to clear the clutter from one year and make space for the new.

We’re also wanting to start the year on a good note which is why there’s often so much pressure around New Year’s eve – we want the year to start right because it gives us a sense that next year is going to be good.

Once you acknowledge this, this time of the year becomes magical and joyful again and self care becomes a given.

Within the lights and magic of Christmas is the connection you crave, it’s just often disguised by food, gifts and excess.

Photograph by Aaron Rushden via Unsplash

1.  Focus on how you want to feel

You know how Christmas kind of comes along like a train and there seems like there’s no way to stop it?

Not the case. Make a conscious decision about how you want to feel.

Decide how you want to feel, behave and experience on Christmas – imagine Christmas day morning, or the 1st January – how do you want to wake up and go to bed that day?

Get super clear on this and visualise it so it’s so clear that you can almost touch it. Then, and only then, make decisions about what you do and allow to happen based on how you want to experience the period.  If it’s peaceful then everything you do should be in relation to creating peace.  If it’s connection – everything you do should be about creating that.

2.  Let go and say no

 

Let go of all the things that Christmas ‘should’ be and enjoy it for what is.  We build up extraordinarily high expectations of ourselves at this time of the year (perfectionists, hello!) and we berate ourselves for going out, for staying in, for the extra mince pie, for not making it to the 19th event invite we had.

Remember how you want to feel and say no to anything that takes you away from that and let go of the guilt attached to it.  You’re making decisions based on a desire to feel amazing, healthy and grounded.

That in turn allows others to do the same.

“It’s not about food, or excess or gifts – Christmas is about connection”

3.  Don’t fight food

One big meal isn’t going to impact you if you have an overall healthy lifestyle any more than eating one salad will help if you have an unhealthy lifestyle.  That being said, over Christmas, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with food and alcohol, after all we apparently consumer over 7,000 calories on a ‘standard’ Christmas day.  What food does is create an emotional connection – we eat with our family, we associate certain foods with this time of the year, we feel we’ve worked hard and have ‘earned’ the extra treats.

What food does is create an emotional connection – we eat with our family, we associate certain foods with this time of the year, we feel we’ve worked hard and have ‘earned’ the extra treats.

I’d argue that you’ve earned the right to spend time with your loved ones. You’ve worked hard to look and feel amazing and have earned the right to feel that way on 1st January rather than feeling you’ve over-indulged and are back at square one.  You’ve also earned the right to relax and enjoy the period.  Enjoy the season but know what you’re really looking for.

4.   Press the easy button

Order food and have it delivered.  Plan in advance so you have healthy snacks and foods on hand.  Eat breakfast so you’re not ravenous and making poor food choices later in the day.  Prep for next year in the sales and get cards, gift wrap and take advantage of the sales. Set up secret Santa with your family and friends to limit present buying.  Remember that presents are a token of an appreciation and they don’t need to be perfect. The quality of your relationship does not rest on the value of that one present.

Press the easy button you also press the relax button.

Let your light shine.

Photograph by Unsplash

5. Celebrate the year that’s gone

The end of a new year and start of another has generated a ritual of setting intentions for millennia.  What we’re not so good at doing is actually celebrating the year that has passed.  Christmas is a great time to acknowledge everything that has happened in the year.  What have you learned?  What have you enjoyed?  What do you need to do more or less of?

To help you do this you can download my end of year review planner here.

6. Give yourself a gift this Christmas

Now you know how you want to feel and you’ve taken time to appreciate the year that’s gone and plan ahead, what gift could you give yourself to help you get there?  Maybe it’s buying a book, taking a course, reconnecting to an old hobby. Perhaps it’s asking for support from someone else to help move you forward.  I had a client, Claire, who wanted to go to Yoga once a week, she thought it was impossible with her childcare and work schedule.  So she gave herself the gift of time and space by asking her friend to share childcare with her.  Her friend looked after her daughter one night a week so she could go to yoga and she did the same for her friend.

Celebrate the magic of Christmas by focussing on what’s really important.

Photographs by Tim Mossholder and Joanna Kosinka  via Unsplash

7. Stay off social media

Take the opportunity to stay away from social media and be in the room and present with the people you’re with.  It’s easy to assume everyone else is having the ‘perfect’ Christmas, but they’re only posting their best bits and sharing snippets of their reality. Use it as an excuse to disconnect for a while and enjoy the place you are.

If you have top tips not listed here I’d love it if you’d share in the comments below!

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