The festive break is meant to be a time to relax and unwind, right? But following a couple of years of unwanted Covid-shaped stocking fillers, high expectations of Christmas 2022 may add extra pressure for many of us. Stressors such as social anxiety from resumed work parties, economic uncertainty and the cost of living crisis, can be a lot to deal with - all while trying to get everything off our desks before the end of the year.
So amongst all of this, how can you maintain your sense of calm, and, if not peace on earth, then at least in your mind, this Christmas?
Try these mindfulness tips for the festive season (and beyond):
1. Give yourself the gift of morning meditation
Do you reach for your work emails on your phone as soon as you wake up? Before you do anything, start your day with 5 minutes of meditation. Use an app, such as Insight Timer (free), which has guided morning meditations, or simply gently close your eyes, relax your jaw and focus on the sensation of the breath coming in and out of your body. Just remember to prop yourself in bed so you don’t fall back to sleep while doing this!
2. Plan ahead to conquer social overwhelm
Too much noise and too many people? If the return of the office Christmas party makes you want to hide under the covers until 2023, or socialising with large groups of friends and family is overwhelming, then make a plan in advance.
If it’s something that’s having a really big impact on your life, consider contacting your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if your employer provides one - most include free and confidential professional help, which can be done on the phone.
3. Put yourself on your ‘to-do’ list.
What gets written down, gets done, so amongst meeting deadlines this December, remember to prioritise yourself too. What this looks like will be different for everyone, but it could be escaping to a quiet corner of your office or home to read for 20-30 minutes or heading to a yoga class or the gym - which are typically quieter at this time of year. Taking a break might seem unrealistic - but you’ll be more productive as a result.
4. Take a festive walk
Getting outside in the fresh air is a great way to diffuse any office or household tension, while getting some headspace and walking off the mince pies at the same time. Live or work somewhere urban? Devise your own mini Christmas lights tour with a few laps around the block - admiring the twinkly decorations along the way. Going with someone? Just for fun, try spotting the best dressed building! Live somewhere more rural? On your walk, take the time to absorb the changes in nature such as the winter berries and holly, and you might even spy a red robin.
5. Top up your batteries during the day with yoga nidra
Feeling exhausted but the idea of a power nap is unattainable? Try some yoga nidra. It’s essentially a guided meditation (no yoga leggings required) which takes you to a blissful state between sleep and awakeness, and is said to be even more effective than a short snooze, helping you to tackle afternoon tasks with more energy.
Hopefully these tips will see you through the festive season and into the new year, and remember:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, even you.” - Anne Lamott
Author: Jayne Burton | Wellness Specialist | WorkLifeWell
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