The Good Daily

Mindfulness for a happy and healthy festive season

No matter what you’re celebrating this festive season, its sure to be busy! Even for those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas, the holiday period can be full of pressure and other challenging experiences that can make our wellbeing a little harder to manage.

For some, the festive season can lead to over thinking, over planning, over eating, over drinking and more! The pressure to finish off work projects before the traditional office break, as well as juggling family and social commitments hardly seems fair – not to mention the holiday shopping…

There’s ways in which we can all take the time for ourselves, to reflect on the season and the joy that comes with it while managing our own wellbeing.

Here’s some top tips for a mindful festive season:

Daily meditation has been shown to help people stress less, exercise more and even sleep better. Download a mindfulness or meditation app, like Headspace’s app, to set reminders, track your sessions and manage your mood.*

Share the load – Allocate the jobs fairly. Afterall, it’s a time for sharing and caring, so whether it’s the family or work colleagues, see what jobs can be shared out to get things done.

Manage your spending – Try not to add extra pressure to your mental wellbeing by overcommitting your budget and winding up with a big Christmas financial hangover…Do a budget and stick to it. Ignore the commercial pressure and be sure to put what you can afford first over emotional pressure.

Balance the excess – It’s a tempting time to go all out on food, drinks and time out and about with others, but too much of a good thing can be, well...too much! To offset; eat sensibly or learn to say no, manage your drinks and schedule in some ‘me’ time to reflect gently on the year too.

Give, give, give – Winter is harsh in the UK, and there are many, many others who could use your help. If you’re buying gifts, make room in your budget for an extra gift or donation to your favourite charity. Check charity websites and their social media to see what they need and give a gift that counts. If your budget is a bit tight, check the cupboards for spare blankets, sheets and towels that will be gratefully accepted by charities too.

Be in the moment – Presence is the best present as the saying goes. Turn off the phone, devices and TV to simply enjoy being with family and friends. Make time for a few family photos, but otherwise, put the screen down. You’ll get more out of making memories that way. If you’re on your own, rug up for a walk and enjoy the solitude of a crisp quiet wintery day. You’ll be amazed what you’ll see on your travels.

It can wait – Check yourself during times of stress and ask ‘Does this really need to happen right now – or ever?’ Will people honestly notice if the curtains aren’t ironed…? Save your energy and strength for the things that actually count instead.

Be realistic and manage expectations – If you’re not up to joining the Christmas party or gathering, say no. If you’d rather be rugged up at home with your kids watching a Disney family favourite for the billionth time – do it. You won’t ‘let anyone down’ - simply managing expectations with gentle ‘no thankyou’s’ and ‘not this time’.

Take the time for jobs that relax you – Christmas card writing can actually be very therapeutic, and allows you to consider the very special people in your life. A personal, thoughtfully written card can mean more than a generic gift.  And the quiet time is rejuvenating.

Rest and recuperate – For many, Christmas holidays can be the only stop we have all year. It’s a great time to rest, recuperate and reflect. While its tempting to run, run, run – just stop. It’s so simple.

*If you’d like to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, you can learn more from our partners, Headspace when they join us for next year’s Good Day At Work Conversation 2017. Get your tickets now. 

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Cary CooperGood Day at Work®

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

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MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

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Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

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