Over the Christmas holidays, our usual routines and habits can be disrupted, leaving us feeling unsettled and not particularly jolly!
Self-care shouldn't stop just because the festive season is here and it's still important to take the time to look after yourself mindfully – even if it's just in a small way.
We've put together seven mindful tips to help you stay relaxed over the festive season and into the new year.
Practise mindful eating
With so many nice things to eat over the Christmas period, it can be easy to over-indulge and stop paying attention to what we're putting in our mouths.
By eating mindfully, we can really slow down and appreciate what we're eating. After all, there's no need to rush at this time of year.
Think about your body and stop eating when you feel full – and eat when you feel hungry when possible, not just because you have to.
When you're eating, make it your main focus and don't get distracted by background noises – shut off the TV and just enjoy the meal.
Go for a mindful walk
Over Christmas, we often find ourselves going a bit stir-crazy! The cabin fever begins to set in after a few days cooped up with the same people– and you end up in a mindless slump watching repeats of old Indiana Jones movies. No thanks.
Make an effort to get outdoors – if you can, make a trip to a forest or nature reserve, or the beach if you're able to get there. If not, even a stroll around a park is enough to clear your mind and blow away the cobwebs.
Long walks are especially good for us. Adam Ford, author of The Art of Mindful Walking, says: "A good walk takes us beyond the horizon – several times. We experience liberation, unique to walking, as countryside or town flow past us at an even, human pace.
"This continual changing of scene is one of the great delights of a long trek."
Plan your winter walks using one of these walking apps for iPhones and Android devices.
Start the day with a morning stretch or yoga
This is a great way to wake up slowly and ease yourself into the day, making you more aware of your body and how you feel when you wake up. It's especially helpful over Christmas, when you've probably spent more time sitting around indoors than normal.
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Why not try this easy sit-up-in-bed yoga routine by Charlene Lim?
Do some crafting, art or baking
If you find it hard to make time for creative activities in your daily life, then make time to do some crafting or painting over Christmas.
Making things with your hands – whether it's sewing, drawing, knitting or even baking – is called grounding. It's a technique that helps you to focus entirely on being in the present moment and completely absorbed by one activity. It's a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Invite some friends over for a coffee and crafting session and enjoy a good gossip at the same time.
Find some quiet time to recharge
Spending lots of time socialising over Christmas can be tiring – especially if you're a natural introvert. It's a good idea to find a little quiet time to be alone and recharge your batteries.
A good way to regain your inner balance is to meditate or simply find a calm place to sit and think. If you find it hard to sit still without an activity to occupy you, then why not try a spot of mindful reading?
Keep to your normal routine
It's easy to lose track of your normal routine over Christmas, making it difficult to get back into your normal routine after the holidays.
If you're not going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, you can end up feeling groggy. If you're staying up late and not getting enough sleep, you can end up with a 'sleep debt' which will affect your concentration during the day. Find out how to practise good sleep hygiene.
Make a list of your priorities for the day
Make a note of three things that you want to achieve each day in the morning. This will give you a chance to focus on things you'd really like to do that day and make sure that you really make the most of your break.
At the end of the day, write a list of three things you enjoyed about the day. This is a great way to build up a sense of wellbeing and it's also a nice thing to look back on when you want to remember happy times.
Photo by freestocks.org and Kari Shea on Unsplash.