Simple tips to avoid festive burnout this Christmas

I am Louise Murray and I am a Holistic Health Coach with a qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. I take a truly holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them with nutrition advice combined with lifestyle and behaviour change, healthy habit formation, mindset tools, mindfulness and self-care practices. As a mother of a large family (4 kid mama!), I know a thing or two about Christmas burnout. Let’s be honest, between the gift purchasing and wrapping, handmade cards, and endless household chores and ‘to do’ lists –  most mums feel the pressure of the upcoming festive season.

Christmas is meant to be a fun and loving time. But for many of us the reality is that we feel overwhelmed and over-stretched.  It can not only leave us feeling drained, but also can steal the joy from what should be a joyous time. In a year when most parents are already feeling at their limit, the additional load of Christmas can tip us into burnout.

So here are a few tips to help you thrive through the festivities and not feel frantic and frazzled.

  1. Say no: If you want to feel festive rather than frazzled and avoid the risk of Christmas burnout then healthy boundaries are the way forward. Learn to say ‘no’ to the things you don’t want to do, to give yourself more energy, space and time for the things you DO really want to do. Remember, you can still be a good mum, sister, wife and friend if you say no. It’ a massive self-care gift to yourself.
  2. Micro-dose of self-care: It’s vital you take some time to nurture yourself – both mentally and physically – around the hustle and bustle of it all. But when we are so busy how can we squeeze this into our hectic days? Well, the answer is to micro-dose on self-care. Just 10 minutes can make all the difference. It gives you a little space to press pause, and give your mind a little break….read a book, take a hot bath, listen to a podcast, do a yoga flow..
  3. Breathe! If you feel stress and overwhelm rising, stop what you’re doing and take 3 long, deep, full, purposeful breaths. Do not underestimate the power of a deep breath.  These precious seconds may be the difference between loosing your cool and responding calmly; between feeling overwhelmed and staying focused. Use the power of breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body. Try and make your breath as long as possible and really focus on extending the out breathe more than the in breathe to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system (your ‘rest and digest’ system which will send a wave of calm through our body).
  4. Cup of calm: Make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. Use your senses to root yourself in the present moment to give your mind a break from any stress or worry. Focus on what you can see (the colour of the drink, the mug, any patterns). Then focus on what you can feel; the warmth, any texture to the cup. Then focus on what you can taste – and mindfully really enjoy the hot drink. In this practice you are soaking up all the goodness a simple cup of tea has to offer you. When you start feeling a little overwhelmed, this is a great ‘2-minute’ self-care tool. Mindful meditation doesn’t need to take a long time, just 2 or 3 minutes can be enough to give you a little space to slow down, press pause, re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day.
  5. Positive affirmations: Positive affirmations are a powerful way of sending yourself a great dose of positive vibes – they are a fantastic mind-nourishing tool. By starting your day with the repetition of one or more positive affirmations, you set the right intention for the day, brighten your mood and up your confidence. Sounds a bit woo-woo? You don’t need to say them out loud to yourself fin the mirror – write them down and pop them somewhere you will see them frequently throughout your day (fridge door, bathroom mirror). Repetition is key – so each time you see them, repeat the words to yourself in your head a few times. Day-by-day you will reinforce the messages and train your subconscious mind to tune into the truth of words more often. They can really help you tune into how you feel and give you ways to cope, So when you begin to feel a bit overwhelmed this festive season, use these affirmations as your guide to peace and patience. 

Today, I choose me.

I choose peace over perfection.

I remember I have a choice in what I plan for the festive season.

I give myself permission to rest. I am taking care of more than just myself when I take time to re-charge.

When I become stressed, I will step away. I will breathe and give myself what I need in the moment to cope.

This is really stressful right now. I am allowed to feel this way. I am not alone in feeling this way. I will be kind to myself and take good care of myself.

Today I choose to find small pockets of joy, even on a tough day – there are moments of joy to be found.

I will stay present-focused and take this one day at a time. 

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