Self-care Christmas? It's a time of joy, family and a whole heap of expectation - how can we do self-care at Christmas? Indeed, it is one of the most stress-filled times of the year for many of us. Self-care is essential to survive that Christmas stress says Jen Wood, our Wellbeing Lab manager & therapist
FIVE MINUTES WITH Jen Wood, Wellbeing Lab manager & therapistWhy is Christmas so stressful?
The main thing is the expectation we place on ourselves. We are trying to be all things to all people. There is this huge pressure from the media and society to be perfect and as soon as we strive for that we are in trouble. We actually get hooked on the dopamine our brain releases when we receive praise and society rewards perfection. We often don't realise that good enough is good enough. Also, the media tells us it is a season of joy, fun and togetherness. We should be out having fun. Yet, particularly the bereaved, that triggers a sense of loss, loneliness and isolation. Statistics show the increase in numbers of people suffering depression and anxiety at this time of year.
What should we be doing to counteract the pressures?
Downtime is hugely important. In our seasonal cycle, winter is a time of resting and renewal yet we are instead building up to a crescendo of festivities in a state of Christmas-stress induced panic. It's difficult to step back completely but look at bringing in some self-care to your everyday. How can you nourish yourself? Even if it is just one minute your brain acknowledges you're nourishing. You need to fill up your self-care cup every day.
But we are so busy - what can we do to fit in self-care?
The key things are eating well by balancing all the rich foods we eat at this time of year with lots of good, natural foods. Hydrating ourselves is essential, especially if we are drinking alcohol. Also, ask yourself if you sleeping enough? If we are just on the edge of coping a lack of sleep will tip us over. Just thinking of nourshing yourself will start to help.
What are your top self-care tips?
A little self-care can be a different thing everyday. I drink a glass of water in every morning before I do anything and I drink it in, mindful of all the goodness its bringing me. Or it might be that you come home and have a shower after a stressful day. Literally wash that stressful body off your body and out of your self. Breathe. Consciously breath, asking yourself what do I need today. If the answer is that you feel stressed then try breathing that out on your out breaths. I also find writing out my feelings and thoughts as a way towards stress-relief. It is lovely to meet up with friends but it is not always possible. If you hold your anxiety in then it can come out in an unhealthy way - losing your temper, feeling highly strung with everything still locked inside of you. Writing is as good as talking so writing a journal can help let those feelings out.
If we have a little more time for self-care what should we do?
Go for a massage. Ask for that voucher for Christmas or treat yourself. It's cold and in the cold we tense up without even knowing it - even without stress. So the best way to combat that would be a luxurious massage.
JEN'S GUIDE || HOW TO DO SELF-CARE AT CHRISTMAS
Restoration Yard is not just a store and a beautiful restaurant, we passionately believe in restoration of self too. Life is complicated enough: so we’ve created a haven for emotional healing, rebalancing and renewing the self. We call it our Wellbeing Lab: a welcoming series of spaces for everything from yoga and Pilates to mindfulness and mums & babies classes. We host learning workshops and art-making crafternoons, and also offer harmonizing coaching, massage therapy, reflexology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in our Sanctuary.
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