This morning I went out for a short run and it felt great to be outdoors and running amongst nature. It was also the perfect way to get away from Christmas stress. I love Christmas and this is one of my favourite times of year, but I also find the weeks leading up to Christmas really stressful. And talking to my friends, I know I’m not alone with feeling stressed and anxious during the festive period.
Christmas should be a time of celebration, happiness and spending quality time with the people we care about and not about worrying and stress. To help make this festive season a little less stressful I’ve been doing a few things to help manage my Christmas stress.
I’m naturally an organised person, with to-do lists and schedules scattered around my home, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to Christmas I’m super organised. I have lists of who I need to buy presents for and what I’m going to buy. I also have a Christmas budget so I don’t overspend. I aim to get all my Christmas shopping done as early as possible to avoid crowded shops and supermarkets – or stressing about whether a delivery will arrive in time. This year it hasn’t all gone completely smoothly but, by starting early, I haven’t had too much shopping stress.
With so much going on in the run up to Christmas it can be easy to take a month off the gym and skip runs, but exercising during December not only helps to keep my energy levels up but also helps me to destress. Studies have shown that exercising helps people to manage stress, so it makes sense that it provides the perfect way to relieve stress in the run up to Christmas. As well as this, I find being outdoors and around nature helps me to relax, so exercising outdoors in nature, like my run this morning, is an ideal break from the pre-Christmas madness.
Meditation and mindfulness
Last year I started meditating and practicing mindfulness and since then have found that it has had a massive impact on helping me to manage stress. Mindfulness is even recommended by the NHS for those who suffer with anxiety. I try to incorporate mindfulness as much as I can into my day (if you’ve not practiced it before, take a look at my post on an introduction to mindfulness), while I’ll try and meditate once a day using the app Calm.
Being OK with saying no
Even though I’m really organised, there are times in the weeks leading up to Christmas when I get overwhelmed with everything I need to do and everywhere I need to be. When it gets to this stage I’m OK with saying no – turning down invites and skipping workouts. Instead when it all gets a bit too much, I’ll happily stay at home, curled up with a hot chocolate and mince pie watching a cheesy Christmas film.