Those long summer days are so close now that’s almost possible to taste the ice-cream and feel the sticky sunscreen mixed with sand.
While the summer festive season can be a wonderful time to take a break from the pressures of work and other commitments, it can also be a stressful time for many. It can be tricky navigating the expectations of family, friends and colleagues, and managing the rituals of socialising with food and alcohol. Add in travel commitments, financial pressures, school holidays and the rest, and it’s easy to see why most people look a little tired and in need of a wellbeing boost.
Certainly, I know what it’s like trying to juggle it all. And, just to add some extra fun, we’ve now thrown a move to Gisborne in January into the mix as well. It’s hugely exciting, but I’m also aware that I’m dipping into the self care activities more often these days to help me get through it all.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep up the foundations for good health right now (such as exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep – not news, I know), and it’s also important to make sure that you find time to do the things that restore you.
Here’s a list of five things you can do to take care over the festive season:
- Be right here, right now
Practicing mindfulness is probably the last thing you’d think to add to your festive to-do list, but it can be a helpful calming tool if you feel overwhelmed at any point. Mindfulness is about living in the moment and taking note of what’s happening. Examples include using your five senses to enjoy the foods on offer, watching the sun on water at the beach, and being present with loved ones. A great way to pause is to take a really deep breath, exhale and let your shoulders drop.
- Know that good enough is great
There can be a lot of pressure at this time of year, especially when hosting or staying with family and/or friends. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix when it comes to dealing with the difficult people but what you can do is focus on you. Be clear about what you can control and what you can’t, and what’s important and what’s not. By February next year, most of the things that are stressful now will be long forgotten so give yourself a break and know that good enough is great.
- Be with people that love you in all your glory
There’s almost nothing better than spending time with people who love you for who you are and can make you laugh until your sides hurt. Find time to be with those people and find ways to help each other take care – be it a walk together, joining a festive activity or simply sitting down over a cup of tea to catch up on life. There are lots of other great people you can talk to in your community too. Check out the Mental Health Foundation’s page for numbers to call if you need support and a listening ear.
- Celebrate the goodness
When you get a chance, write down a list of all the good moments from 2018. It might be a list of big things, small things or both. The idea is to come up with 10 to 20 things that make you smile and feel buoyant. And those things can be personal and professional. My highlights include all the awesome people I’ve worked with this year around the country and of course, the time I’ve spent with my family on a Sunday when the gate is closed and we just potter around our property gardening while the kids play in the sun.
- Support the community
There are many families that go without in some way at this time of year. Consider donating your time or items to organisations that support families or individuals in need. Or if you know of someone, reach out to them in whatever way feels comfortable to you and to them. Check on neighbours and colleagues too. To quote the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways of Wellbeing, “Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connection with the people around you.”
Take care, stay safe and wishing you a happy festive season ahead.