We’re now officially heading into the festive season which can be a wonderful time of year, but it can also bring a great deal of stress for many people.
I don’t know about you but at the moment it feels like I’m still trying to get through the onslaught of Black Friday emails, trying to kick a nasty cold up the bum as well as juggle all the end of term goings on at school and manage family expectations in the lead up to Christmas.
It’s important that we look after ourselves all year but now more than ever people are prone to ill health so it’s important to look out for yourself and ensure you have the right balance of doing the things you need, doing the things that you want and doing the things that are good for you!
Being a business owner and a mum there are many things to consider when it comes to finding balance. Based on my own experiences, here are my top six ways that you can look after your wellbeing this festive season.
- LEARN TO SAY NO TO AVOID OVERWHELM
Women in particular are known to be very bad when it comes to saying ‘no.’ We are always wanting to do things for others that we can easily forget the impact this may have on ourselves. Whether it’s baking cookies for the school christmas fair, attending just one more pre christmas family meal or squeezing in another work project before the year is out…. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t take it on. You simply can’t do it all, no matter what time of year it is, let alone the busiest time of year for many! Decide what your priorities are and if something doesn’t align, take the pressure of yourself, and get comfortable saying NO.
If time is an issue for you, and you have difficulty prioritising, you might be interested in my freebie guide on creating an extra hour in your day.
2. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOU
Seems pretty obvious right, but how often are you actually doing it? You may not be aware that your body is running purely on adrenaline, which means you will eventually crash. To avoid this from happening, allow your body an opportunity for your nervous system to reset and that probably means physically putting something in your diary for rest, for a break, for a chance to do absolutely nothing at all. Whether that be a relaxing bath, a cosy night in with a film, a solo walk, a lunch break listening to your favourite tunes… choose what it is and book it in! You’re probably in the mode of needing to do all the things to please everyone else, so nudge yourself up the priority list and factor in yourself first!
One of my favourite apps that I listen to on a daily basis for those moments for me is The SuperHuman App. It is the home of hundreds of guided meditations that help to build a positive mindset, but not meditations as you may know them. It includes meditations for walking, cleaning and cooking amongst others, so it can easily slip into your everyday routine.
3. GET OUTSIDE
It is completely normal for exercise routines to go out of the window during the holidays, so dont be hard on yourself if your activity levels are more haphazard than normal. The easiest way I find to ensure I am staying active is to make outside time a non-negotiable for me and the family. Getting outside will automatically mean you are being active in some way and you are getting fresh air which will also give you that much needed headspace. It is a great way to encourage the whole family to be active too to avoid slumping inside in front of screens and will help you to feel more energised, more focused and will also help to relieve any stress that may have been building up. So whatever the weather, a walk, a ride on the bikes or the scooters, a wonder to see the Christmas lights, boost your mood and your vitamin D and get outside!
If you’re keen to keep active but don’t have the time you would normally, I’d highly recommend the Feel Better App by Deliciously Ella. It’s an affordable subscription and perfect if you want to squeeze in a quick workout or bit of movement. There’s a range of workout types from yoga and Pilates to HIIT and strength and classes start at just 10 minutes long.
4. FOLLOW THE 70/30 RULE
In normal times, I usually follow myself and recommend to my clients an 80/20 rule when it comes to nutrition, because what is important is what you are doing MOST of the time. If 80% of what you are putting into your body is feeding you and fueling you in the right way, and the other 20% is giving you the permission to enjoy the treats, then I say that’s a pretty good balance. Aiming for 100% will only make you feel too restricted like you are punishing yourself and that will do more harm than good to your mindset.
At this time of year I think it is important to acknowledge there is going to be more alcohol, more tins of chocolates and tempting puddings on offer, so it is important to adjust your expectations to reflect this. Setting these mental boundaries will really help to remove any food guilt and also give you the room to enjoy treats and healthy foods as well. There’s nothing worse than overindulging and then getting to January and feeling like you need to pay the price. So ensure you are feeding your body properly and adding in the extra nutrition wherever you can, whilst still enjoying yourself.
If you’d like some inspiration or a bit of a plan to help you nourish your body for maximum energy, my 5 day energiser meal plan has been designed for busy people – mums or business owners who want quick, simple and tasty. It has a selection of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and some healthy snacks too. If you’d like a copy, drop me an email and I will pop it over to you!
5. SET BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR WORK
As business owners it can be incredibly tempting to spend the extra hour in the evening ‘getting ahead’, or getting just one more thing done, or responding to just more more client email. But it is incredibly important to set boundaries with both yourself and your clients. As we approach holiday time, ensure you set the expectation with clients and team members about when you will be ‘on’ and when you’ll be out of office so you can properly disconnect and enjoy personal and family time. Trust that things will always get done, it’s all about assessing your priorities and protecting time so you don’t over do it. Your down time is precious so don’t be tempted to cross the boundaries.
6. SWAP PRESENTS FOR PRESENCE
The pressure of ticking everyone off the gift list can be stressful and people are feeling it in particular this year. As someone with a large extended family I know this feeling all too well and it’s very easy for present giving to detract from the enjoyment and creating memories that this time of year should be all about. I know my kids in the past have been completely overwhelmed by the Christmas day present frenzy and have little awareness of what they’ve been given and by who – it’s just all about unwrapping as quickly as possible.
Anyway we are talking this to the extreme this year. We are lucky enough to be going away for Christmas but it has encouraged us to opt out of presents entirely – both giving and receiving and it honestly feels like a breath of fresh air. This year will be all about focussing on experiences and having special family time together and creating memories that way, instead of spending hours trawling Amazon! Think about how you can choose presence over presents this year, whether it is getting creative with the kids and making homemade gifts, opting for a family secret santa to reduce the emphasis on number of gifts or choosing experiences and days out instead of material gifts.
Check out this lovely post full of homemade gift ideas.
The most important things is to look after yourself. It is very easy for us to know all the things, the important thing is what we actually decide to implement. So I encourage you to choose, perhaps just one thing that you can put in place between now and the end of the year to ensure you are looking after both your physical and mental wellbeing.