December is here and Christmas really is just around the corner! And whilst the festive season is meant to be joyful, with family gatherings, good food and perhaps the occasional drink – it can also be a time of stress for many.
The pressure to make Christmas special can be overwhelming in the run up to it. Whether you are rushing round buying presents or looking up cooking times for turkey, there is always a lot going on in December.
And that is why it is so important to ensure that you are looking after yourself and combatting stress in a healthy way.
Stress is a natural reaction of the body to dangerous or pressured situations. It puts our bodies into a flight of fight mode which can be handy in the very short-term, but can have lasting impact on our health if we don’t reduce stress levels to normal.
And it’s not just your mental health that will suffer when you are stressed. Your body reacts as well, carrying the tension you feel in the muscles and ligaments, affecting it’s ability to function at it’s best level.
So below are our top tips for short, easy stress-busting activities that will help fill your festivities with a calmness – so you can really enjoy the things that matter.
- Jaw relaxation – many people carry stress in their jaws by clenching their teeth without even realising. Take 5 minutes and consciously focus on your jaw. Open you mouth a little and gently massage the jaw line using soft, circular motions.
- Simple shoulder stretches – place the palm of your hand on the crown of your head and slowly bring your chin into your chest, holding it there for a moment. You should feel the muscles along the top of your spine stretching out.
- Mindful breathing – find a quiet spot and a comfortable chair. Sitting with an upright posture focus your mid on your breathing. Expand your belly and feel the diaphragm lower as you breath deeply in through the nose, and then gently out through the mouth. Just a few minutes of this and you will start to feel the stress melt away!
- Scented candles – light your favourite and let it fill the room with your perfect fragrance. Take a moment to sit down and savour the calming effect and indulge in the self-care you deserve.
If you find yourself getting too stressed make sure you take some time to look after yourself. If you are struggling to deal with stress related symptoms please consult a healthcare professional.
And once you’ve found your calm, why not indulge in that extra bit of self-care December allows – that mince pie won’t eat itself!
Whatever your plans this December we hope they are happy, fun, and mostly stress-free!