Stress Management (in the lead-up to Christmas)

It's that time of year again. The kids are finishing school, your social calendar is filling up, holiday gift ideas are thrust in your face every time you go shopping, and the house is a mess. How do you find time for all the things you feel obligated to do AND try to keep up with your fitness regimes which normally serve to save your sanity?

  • Practice saying "No". It's not easy to find time for everything, but maybe you don't need to. Don't be afraid of asking others to help you if you're asked to do something you're not sure you'll have time for, or don't feel you can do. It's better to politely decline as soon as you are asked, than to stress yourself out if you are unable to deliver on a promise.
  • Outsource. If you are able, think about whether you can afford to get someone to clean your house, deliver healthy meals, or tidy up your garden, even as a one-off service just before you throw a party. Maybe you could barter your skills with friends, take turns minding each other's kids or pets or help each other with tasks? Perhaps invite your friends to a busy bee for an afternoon to clean up your garden then treat them all to take-away pizza afterwards?
  • Self-care. Do try to set aside a little time each day to do something fun or relaxing for yourself. A short Mediation Session, salt water float, massage, sauna, restorative yoga class, a walk in nature or simply sitting in a peaceful garden or park and soaking up some sunshine can all do wonders to relax and rejuvenate you. If you de-stress by exercising hard, by all means incorporate that into your daily routine, but be careful not to over-do it and do make some time for Recovery.
  • Calendar. Having an online or hard-copy calendar or diary in which you note appointments as soon as they are made, and to-do list items as soon as they come to mind, can often be a great stress reliever - that way, you know you won't be caught out double-booking yourself. Make sure to allocate time for self-care activities and tasks that are date-sensitive — enter them in your calendar as a meeting, so that you don't run out of time. Being organised is one of the most helpful ways to overcome stress especially during busy times of the year.
  • Reach out to others. Be positive and grateful for all the good things in your life and encourage others who may be struggling to find things that they are grateful for. If you're having a difficult time, don't be afraid to talk to your friends and ask for help. Volunteering at a community kitchen to serve meals to people less fortunate than you is a wonderful way to make new friends and perform an invaluable service to the community, which is guaranteed to make you feel good.
  • Stay healthy. It's fine to indulge occasionally in not-so-healthy festive fare, but constant intake of rich, sugary foods and adult beverages will not only take its toll on your overall health, but may cause feelings of guilt. Try suggesting a social hike, BYO picnic in the park, healthy potluck progressive dinner or activity such as ten pin bowling or (ice-)skating as the focus of a catch-up with friends, rather than an evening at the pub. And don't forget to drink enough water every day (two litres is good, but have more and add some Bix electrolytes if you're exercising) - if you always forget, put it on your to-do list! :)