December is a busy time of year. And with the Xmas madness upon us already, I wanted to share my top 5 health and well-being tips to help you survive the holiday season this year.
1. Prioritise self-care
One of the first things we tend to overlook at this time of year is our self-care. I am not just talking about massages and manicures either, what I am talking about is our basic self-care with our physical and emotional needs. This includes getting enough sleep, nourishing our body with food and movement, reducing stress, having fun and setting boundaries with both work and home life. Now is the time to put your self-care first, prioritise your sleep, turn down some of the xmas invites and say no to the extra workload. Most importantly schedule in some relaxing time and have some fun!
2. Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature is one of the best ways to improve our health and well-being over the holidays. It reduces stress, increases happiness and enhances our cognitive function. Some of my favourite ways to connect with nature is go on a lunchtime walk, walk barefoot in the sand or go for a hike. Gardening, starting a veggie patch and decorating our home with plants are other ways to connect with nature this holiday season. These are also great gifts to add to our Christmas wish list this year!
3. Move for fun
Exercise is a form of nourishment for the mind and body and it has so many amazing well-being benefits. It reduces stress, increases relaxation, boosts our energy levels, help us sleeps and it makes us feel good. Most importantly exercise makes us healthier, stronger and happier! The more we exercise the more creative, productive and resilient we are in times of stress. The most important thing is moving our body only in ways that we enjoy. What forms of exercise nourishes you and makes you feel good? Mine is strength training, walking, yoga and swimming. But exercise can also be anything from cleaning the house, washing the car, doing the gardening, going shopping (perfect for this time of year!) and even dancing. Grab a piece of paper and write down any movement activities that you enjoy now, or that you used to enjoy. Once you have a list, circle all the activities you think you would like to do now. Pick a couple of activities to try over the holidays. Check out my fun with movement blog here for inspo.
Breathing is often under looked in well-being as it is something we do every day without thinking about it. Breathing is essential to our health and well-being. When we breathe deeply and fully, it helps us deal creatively and constructively with everything life throws at us. It also helps us feel relaxed, more balanced and connected. More importantly, it supplies our organs with much needed oxygen and removes toxins from our body. When we breathe fully and calmly, it ignites our parasympathetic nervous system which means our heart rate drops, our blood pressure lowers, and our body is put into a state of calm and healing. Breathing deeply also releases endorphins, improves sleep, happiness and decreases stress levels. Breathing deeply for just one minute can transform how we are feeling in any moment.
Here is a quick guide to taking a full breath, I highly recommend giving this a try with any stressful events over the holidays.
. • Sit, stand or lay down (whatever feels most comfortable)
• Put one hand on your belly
• Through the nose, inhale slowly as you expand the belly
• Take a slight pause. Don’t hold
• Exhale deeply and contract your belly
5. Practice mindfulness
There has been a lot of research into mindfulness, and the latest studies have shown that practising mindfulness is the foundation for improving both our physical and mental well-being. Also, by being more mindful, it forces us to be more present, which in turn frees up our mind so we can engage in and enjoy the holidays this year. Mindfulness isn’t just meditation, we can practice mindfulness in any activity from brushing our teeth, walking, eating, doing the washing up, focusing on our breath, or simply just being still and present. Check out my blog on 7 easy ways to practice mindfulness here.
There you have it, my top 5 health and well-being tips to help you survive the holidays this year. If you would like more health and well-being tips, then sign up our newsletter here