No Time For The Festive Frazzle

Autumn has definitely kicked in, and in just a few weeks, there will be a trick or treaters up and down your street and skies full of fireworks. Which can mean only one thing- Christmas will be here before you know it! And while it absolutely can be the most wonderful time of year, it doesn’t necessarily come without sackfuls of stress.

The pressure to have the perfect Hallmark Christmas is felt by most of us, I think, and every year many of us will think we’ve failed if each gift isn’t thoughtfully chosen, perfectly wrapped, and eagerly given, and that the family’s Christmas dinner isn’t like something out of the movies!

Now, I’m all about using exercise to help and support our mental and emotional stress. But even at this time of year? Hectic. Full. Busy. Bonkers. And the sense of burnout can leave us feeling exhausted, and the last thing we may want to do is move our bodies in a full-on HIIT session, or circuits class to try and de-stress!

This year, why not try something a bit different? What about trying a pilates session, or a yoga class? Did you know that Yin Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that helps restore balance to the mind, body and soul? I’ll often spontaneously lead a Yin Yoga session if I turn up to one of my more challenging classes and my clients are having a tough time of it and struggling. It never fails to calm, quiet and still everything!

Or what about trying a mindfulness session? You don’t need a yoga pillow, mat or special equipment. You just need a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for ten-ish minutes. You don’t need to “Om”, or sit cross-legged. You don’t need to do anything other than just listen! Heck! You can park the car up and just sit if that’s your space!

Use the time to:

(1) Listen.

(2) Check in with your body. See where in your body you may be holding your stress, anxiety or discomfort.

(3) Check in emotionally. How do you feel? Check the Emotion Wheel (below) to try and pint point the emotions coursing through you. Rather than naming the biggies, like anger, happy or sad, get to the nitty gritty.

(4) Check out mentally. Close your eyes, inhale deeply through your nose, fill your lungs with air, then exhale through your mouth. Sit as still as you can as you continue to listen and quietly mentally answer the questions asked during the mindfulness session.

(5) Finish the session. Certified mindfulness practitioners, like me, will always guide you through the entire session and end it safely so that at the close of the session, you will feel lighter, brighter and more certain of your new emotional state.

I firmly believe that life is way too short. Rather than striving for the most wonderful time of the year (= the Festive Frazzle)- or perfection at any time of the year for that matter- try being in the moment, taking care of your whole self, and sharing imperfect times with those you love and who love you!

I’ve shared one of my mindfulness sessions with you here, which you can use whenever and wherever you need to just stop, breathe, check-in, and feel better.

Have a cracking Christmas!