This time of the year is famously crazy as we get busy trying to combine increased work and social obligations. To help prevent the traditional end of year collapse, take the time as the year ramps up to look after your stress load.
Simplify your diet. Christmas day and work breakups mean you’ll likely be eating very differently to how you normally would. Do your best around these special meals to eat as cleanly as possible. Eat high quality protein, remembering if dietary sources are inadequate, the body will break down muscles to provide the proteins necessary for the stress response. Plan each meal around meat, fish, eggs or nuts and seeds and then add in as many vegies as you can.
Take a few minutes while you eat to take some slow breaths, drop your shoulders and relax the muscles in your tummy. Try not to look at your phone or your to do list for the whole time you eat! Be aware that stress increases carbohydrate cravings so store some baked sweet potatoes in the fridge and have them with butter when cravings strike.
Try to have at least one 5-minute “life break” every day. Get a big glass of water or a cup of herbal tea, if you can, take it outside, sit down and rest. Pay attention to your drink. Let your brain stop. Don’t look at your phone! Coffee and tea will dehydrate you and leave you feeling wired and frazzled, so sub in something else whenever you can.
Although it’s late night party season, do your best to get to bed by 10.30pm as often as you possibly can. Being well rested will make dealing with niggly stressors so much easier! Write a journal, do some gentle stretches or meditate before bed to clear your head.
Try to fit a relaxation practice in every week- have a Friday night bath with Epsom Salts or set aside Sunday afternoons for reading or your favourite hobby. Burst exercises like running sprints, throwing the ball for the dog and working out at the gym are all healthy, productive ways to increase energy and to release pent up stress. Walking the lake- especially if chatting with a good friend, journaling or practicing a craft or art are all great ways to help you find your equilibrium.
Even though you’re busy, take the time to get a massage. Having that down-time will help you release, reset and rejuvenate. Depending on your body and stress-levels, look at booking in every two to three weeks.