While your Instagram feed may insist otherwise, Christmas does not always feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Many of us look forward to the Christmas festivities, but when they actually come around, we can't wait for them to be over. This is because festivities can burn us out. However, the good news is that if we practice a little mindfulness, we can alleviate a lot of festive stress brought on by family conflicts, cooking for too many people and perhaps the absence of a loved one.

It's time to take a step back and breathe / Photo credit: Unsplash
It's time to take a step back and breathe / Photo credit: Unsplash

Sophie Heatley – Yoga instructor at Fly LDN – shares her top tips on how to reconnect, find calm, and face all the festive shenanigans 2021 throws at you. 

Try to get enough sleep 

Sleep is one of our most primitive needs, if our sleeping pattern is all over the place, how can we expect our bodies and brains to function optimally?

Sleep acts as a balm for achy muscles, anxiety and fatigue. When we close our eyes and drift off to sleep, the brain starts to release hormones that promote tissue growth to repair blood vessels and muscle regeneration. Whether you get in 8 hours or squeeze in a siesta, this downtime gifts our body and mind the chance to simply reset and recharge.

So, getting enough shut eye is imperative. Make time to party and celebrate, but also ensure that you allow yourself to have a good night’s sleep, too. I recommend the Release for Sleep class on FLY LDN Online for helping your mind drift off to a worry-free zone, so you can get a restful night’s sleep.

Turn off notifications 

Between planning social events, organising gifts and making time for friends and family, the festive period gives us a lot to think about. Many of us suffer from FOMO, especially after how restricted we were in 2020, so it’s only natural that we feel the desire to answer every text and invitation instantly. However, it is okay to switch off your notifications, even if it’s just for an hour or so in the evening. It’s important to create some phone-free time to disconnect from the outside and tune into the inside. See if you can be a little more mindful of your screen consumption - think less screen-time, more me-time – your messages will still be there the next day for you to respond to. 

Don't forget to breathe

Your breath is your greatest tool for finding peace and calm. Almost as soon as we start to regulate our breathing with steady, conscious breaths, our heart rate begins to slow, our blood pressure lowers, and we start to awaken our parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our autonomous nervous system responsible for nursing our rest-and-restore state.

Whatever you find yourself doing, see if you can take a few moments to check in with your breath. Witness the inhale and the exhale and feel how the breath causes a physical movement in the ribs, the chest, and the abdomen. You don’t need to take 5-minutes to be still and meditative - although, if you can, great! Just remember to tune into your breathing habits more often. 

Practice mindful walking 

Mindful walking can be incorporated into your commute, or even when you get up to make a cup of coffee. Being present during your daily journeys allows you to take ownership of your time and mental wellbeing. Make a conscious effort to feel the earth beneath your feet with every step you take, and take in the sounds, the smells, and the colours of all that is around you. 

Even if you are in the same space that you find yourself in every day, the chances are, you will notice something new. When we slow down and allow ourselves to gently filter through and absorb the world as it exists with us in it, we can rediscover little glimpses of peacefulness and serenity. The more we can do this, the more those little glimpses evolve into extended periods of calm, awareness and gratitude. 

Say no 

To combat festive stress, consider saying no a little more often. It's the oldest trick in the book, but it's also the wisest. Sometimes, the best way to alleviate pressure – festive or otherwise, is to be a little more mindful about what we agree to do - or not to do. This might mean taking a moment to pause before accepting an invitation to an event, or a few extra seconds to consider whether you can take on the additional workload. Remember, saying no does not close doors, it opens up new opportunities and possibilities. When you feel rested and restored, you are so much more able to take on whatever the universe sends your way. 

For more information, visit: www.flyldn.co.uk


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk


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