Australia’s summer is a much anticipated season. Sunshine, blue skies, less peak hour traffic, celebrations with family and friends, summer festivals and holidays by the sea are all symbolic of our end of year holiday season. On the flip side, it can be a very stressful time of the year. Extreme heat and fire risks, financial strain, chaotic shopping and time pressure – it is the time of year that can test the calmest of us. Here are some tips to consider to help bring back the ‘holiday’ this holiday season!
As the calendar year closes out, there is a tendency to try and squeeze in a catch up with everyone before Christmas. Suddenly your diary is exploding with commitments. Guess what? It is okay to say, “thank you but no”. Try this, “Thank you. As much as we’d love to see you, we won’t be able to make it on that date. Let’s catch up in the New Year?”
Take control. Arrange a get together with the usual suspects – all at once. It doesn’t have to be a major event. You could arrange to meet somewhere neutral, like a park with barbeque facilities, and ask everyone to bring a plate of food, a drink and a picnic rug or chair. You could even suggest a date post 1 January. In fact, you could aim for a date in March when the temperature starts to get more comfortable. Your diary will feel lighter, and you may just get some time back to schedule in some relaxation.
Routine is good for us
Staying as close as possible to your usual routine is an effective way to manage time, and reduce stress. Research has regularly shown that getting out of bed at the same time each day, is much kinder on the quality of our sleep, and our well-being. And, there is no reason why you can’t be one of the earlier to leave at celebrations and events and still be tucked in close to your usual bed time.
The essentials: exercise, nutrition and hydration
The weight loss and health and nutrition industries thrive on New Year health kicks.
Your body and mind will thank you for going easy on unnecessary excess kilojoules. That’s not to say you can’t have a few days of culinary indulgences, but consider balancing out the rest of the time with a healthy nutritional intake.
The theory behind the 5:2 diet concept (http://thefastdiet.co.uk/) is worth considering at this time of year, where a day or two of reducing your kilojoule intake can healthily compensate for higher kilojoule days. We’re not advocating the diet, but the theory behind it is worth thinking about. Always consult your General Practitioner or specialist before making significant changes to your diet and exercise routine.
Regular exercise will energise you, help reduce stress levels and contribute to a better overall sense of well being. Make sure to take part in regular exercise over the holiday period.
With summer, comes heat and the need to hydrate frequently and well. The better hydrated your body, the better you’ll feel. Headaches are common at this time of year, but not necessarily due to rushing around in retail chaos. A headache can be one of the earliest signs of dehydration. Keep a water bottle handy wherever you go, so you don’t get caught out.
Stress tip sheet
Recognising your level of stress and having effective strategies to manage your stress is important for your health and motivation. Here is a great reference sheet to keep handy in the lead up to Christmas and beyond –http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/StressTipSheet.pdf.
Look after yourself, and put some plans in place so that you can enjoy the festive season.