They don’t call it the silly season for no reason! If you’re not feeling a little frazzled, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed at this crazy time of year, then we want what you’re having!? While this is meant to be a special and exciting time of the year, it’s often the time that we most neglect ourselves as we feel the mounting pressure to meet the demands of everyone and everything else. Can anyone relate?
As a certified health coach, it concerns me that so many people (mostly women) either a) don’t make the time to nourish themselves at a deep level with plenty of self-love and self-care or b) feel a tad guilty for nourishing themselves with self-care rituals, a bit of ‘me time’ or even just getting a massage! For you that might mean that eating takeaway instead of taking the time to prepare yourself a homemade lunch, staying up late working away on your laptop or bingeing on Netflix, swapping your barre class for a bar of chocolate and couch time, spending time with toxic people who don’t light you up, you get the idea…
Remember: you matter and precious YOU comes first. Since ‘tis the season of giving, we must fill up our own cups first before they can overflow and we can give to others. With the big day almost here, Aleenta asked me to share my top tips for staying a happy, healthy, sane and balanced human this festive season (and beyond!).
Get plenty of rest when you can. Sadly, sleep is often the last priority on everyone’s to-do list. It’s the thing you do when you’ve run out of things to do. Sleep deprivation not only affects your mood, memory, immune system and alertness but, surprisingly for many, it also affects our appetite. Ever notice that you can’t stop snacking and reaching for less than healthy options the day after a big night out?! That’s because hunger hormone leptin and appetite hormone grehlin both spike with a lack of sleep meaning not only are you hungrier but you also feel less satiated = hello binge eating! Make sure you catch up on extra zzzz’s when you can this holiday season, keeping in mind the best quality and most restorative sleep occurs before midnight. Aim to hop into bed before 10.30pm to allow plenty of time to unwind and switch off. Sweet dreams beauties.
Disconnect from (anti) social media. Ever wonder why so many people struggle with anxiety and depression in today’s modern world? I have a sneaking feeling it has a lot to do with what I like to call ‘anti-social media’. Scrolling through Insta can leave most of us feeling crap, comparing ourselves to others, feeling what we have is never enough and that we need the next best dress/gadget/meal/hotel/partner/shoes/jewellery/smoothie bowl etc. The list goes on. Tuning out from social media has been one of the healthiest changes I’ve implemented in the past year. I, like so many, used to reach straight for social media upon waking. Nowadays, I ensure I carve out some time for me, my affirmations, my morning green lemon drink (you’ll learn more about this in the Reset. Renew Challenge) and a quick workout at the barre before jumping online. I feel much happier, more in control of my day, more centred and less reactive and influenced by what everyone else is doing, eating, wearing etc.
Get to the barre (or kitchen chair!). Even if you only have 15-30 minutes, movement really does work wonders. Thanks to a rush of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters, endorphins and dopamine, those infectious post-workout feels can help to alleviate stress, provide energy, boost our mood and even help us sleep more soundly. Exercise is even proven to be just as effective as meds, if not better, at combatting depression and other mood disorders. I totally get that many of you are probably feeling too busy to hit the barre, so remember you can always stay on track and reach your fitness goals with Aleenta Barre On-Demand (and if you are an Aleenta BARRE Member you get 50% off 👏)
Create a morning and evening ritual. Start and finish your day right. I’m always fascinated by how my clients prime themselves for the day ahead. Whilst both have their time and place, it’s time to put away the phone and social media first-thing in the morning, and instead start your day with purpose, passion and a positive intention. Likewise, aim to resist the temptation to have a good scroll through your various feeds right before bed as this time-chewing habit does nothing to help an already cluttered mind nor set yourself up for restorative night’s sleep. These holidays, consider starting or re-introducing a mindfulness practice first-thing in the morning, even if just for five minutes. It really does make a huge difference to the rest of your day. I like to finish my day off with a herbal tea, one-hour technology ban before bed and jotting down three things in my gratitude journal.
Use affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements about something you would like to create and manifest in your life. It’s best to state these in the present tense to affirm and act as if you have already received what it is you would like to see in your life. You can repeat them in your head, aloud, in a mirror or record yourself and play it back to yourself throughout your day, while cooking, commuting, in the shower etc. Here are some of my favourites:
“My life is easy, wonderful and harmonious”
“Everything is always working out for my highest good”
“All is well in my world”
“I don’t know how, but everything always works out well for me”
“I love my life, all is well in my life”
“I am totally capable, confident and competent in all that I do”
“People are so good to me”
“I trust life, life is always on my side”
Keep in mind, health is a journey and not a destination. Be realistic and prioritise whichever of these ideas most resonate with you. Ideally, try to implement at least one or a few of these ideas this week and take notice of how you feel – mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s a great idea to also keep a journal so you can track your progress, jot down your daily gratitude entries and write out your affirmations/intentions. Enjoy investing your precious time in precious you.
p.s. Stay tuned for more info on our Reset.Renew January 2020 Challenge where we will cover mental health, affirmations, mindfulness, sleep and exercise (and how they’re all interconnected!) in further detail. We can’t wait to start the new decade feeling renewed in mind, body and spirit – we hope you can join us!