Mental Health Monday: 12 Ways to De-stress in December

Do you find yourself making the same promise year after year? The promise may be to have a simpler Christmas, be more organised, or not wait until the last minute for Christmas shopping! But, then you find, all of a sudden it is Black Friday and Christmas is only around the corner.

Stress is a thief of joy and in a season where we should be joyful, we can never be fully in the moment as we have too many things on our mind. There are ways to ensure that you can enjoy the festive season without the stress. And best of all, it is not too late to start today...

Chances are, by now you have had your work Christmas party, or if not it will be during the course of this week. So this is the prime time to look at your calendar to see how the rest of December looks.

Opportunity #1

It is usually during this second week of December, groups of friends or acquaintances may be frantically trying to squeeze in one last catch up for the year. Ask yourself, is it imperative to do it before Christmas? Maybe, you could suggest a date in early Jan when everyone is refreshed after the break and better yet, has the ability to be more present as the distractions and stress of Christmas are by then, a distant memory.

Opportunity #2

This is my personal favourite! Calendar block-outs. I colour-code important events in my calendar. Where possible, I allocate a black block-out period. It doesn't have to be long, but just a couple of hours to rest and recover during busy times. Why not block out two evenings per week - make it a Christmas Movie night with your family, or better yet, take a bath or choose a book and curl up with a cuppa!

Opportunity #3

If you haven't started shopping yet, or still have some shopping to complete, start a list! If it works for Santa, it can work for us. Do not be afraid to ask people for gift suggestions! This will help tailor a Christmas shopping plan.

PS - Don't forget to add a roll of sticky tape just in case.

Opportunity #4

Budgets are brilliant! One of the biggest post-Christmas headaches is credit card interest. For some, it takes months to recover. Plan for present buying and catering. Suggesting a Secret Santa ($20/ $50/ $100) for some family or friend groups can save hundreds of dollars by the time you get to Christmas day and enables you to select one quality gift, maximising joy and minimising waste.

Opportunity #5

Shop smarter, not harder! Buy online if it makes it easier for you. If delivery times don't work, chose click and collect and pick a collection time where shopping centre traffic is not hectic and trying to get a bay won't send you grey. I.e. On your way to work between 8 - 9am. After all, there is nothing worse than battling crowds when you are indecisive, it takes the joy and focus from selecting the right gift.

Opportunity #6

Suggest pot-luck style catering for events, particularly if you are a host. It is very much part of Australian culture to 'bring a dish'. This does take a little planning, however by selecting a rough menu, everything will be covered and nothing will be forgotten.

Opportunity #7

Spread the joy! There are many people doing it tough at this time of the year. Kindness goes so far and can make someone's day. As the saying goes 'What you give, is what you get'. Being genuine and looking at someone when you wish them well fosters a connection. Connection is essential to driving the human spirit. When we feel validated, we will make others feel the same way. So, if you are at the supermarket checkout, be kind and include the staff member's name. You will be sure to receive a genuine response in return.

Opportunity #8

Gratitude ties in very much with joy. Where possible during the course of the day, think of something you are thankful for. Delve into your gratitude. By focusing on this moment or gift and how positive it makes you feel, you have the capacity to diminish negative feelings. It is amazing how a change of mindset can positively influence your day.

Opportunity #9

Charities are calling on us more than ever in December. Giving unconditionally is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Many people are concerned about how a charity spends your donation, however there are many other ways to donate. When completing a grocery shop, allocate a select amount you can afford by adding pantry staples to donate to appeals or soup kitchens, contribute an affordable amount to purchase a toy for a drive, create dignity bags. There are endless affordable options without having to hand over cash.

Opportunity #10

Check in on others. This is a great tool to get ourselves out of our own heads. Many of our friends are missing out on their own families at this time of year, because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Asking them how you can help them enjoy Christmas will go along way. It may be as simple as a coffee or play date, or a phone call on Christmas Day. It is times like these where the thought alone is worth more than material gifts. Being present, kind and inclusive can change their day and yours.

Opportunity #11

Listen to your body. You may have read last week's newsletter about recognising physical symptoms of mental health issues. By recognising your body and mind's limitations, you will be working to prevent burnout. Do not push yourself. Ensure you get adequate sleep, rest and water. It is easy to indulge at this time of year, but by being mindful of moderation, we won't surpass our limits.

Opportunity #12

Switch off socials! FOMO and the pressure of perfecting a moment can destroy our capacity to be happy. Christmas doesn't need to be insta-perfect. Influencers take hours, possibly days and a hundred shots to pull off the perfect image. Focus on your presence with those around you, not online. I'm not saying don't take photos to commemorate the celebration, but by being present in the moment, you can share a deeper genuine connection with your friends and loved ones which will last as long as a photo.

For more information on how to de-stress and thrive at life, please call or message me! I'd be happy to work with you to tailor a plan unique to your individual needs.

Well Wishes,

Claire @ The Health & Wellbeing Haven