Christmas survival guide: How to survive the silly season

It’s almost the end of the year and I don’t know about you but things aren’t slowing down yet. I’ve got social events coming out of my wazoo, looming deadlines at work, heaps of organising to do, new clients coming on board and projects to finalise. I am swamped but there’s no way I’m going to let it all get to me this time. I’ve experienced burn out in the past and it’s nasty. But the silver lining was that I’ve learnt (and am still learning) to look after myself during the busy times and to know my limits.Take some time to unwind this week so you can actually enjoy Christmas and aren’t a stressed, crazy person on the day. Look after yourself during the busy times and you will come out on top.

  1. Eat Breakfast. It might sound simple but I hardly ate breakfast and I know I’m not alone. It’s a bad habit to form and I learnt that the hard way. Fuel your body first thing in the morning to prepare it for the day ahead! I love smoothies for breakfast. You can fill them with fruits, vegies and protein and they’re quick and easy to make. I have a smoothie cup that I take in the car with me to work so if I don’t have time to drink it before I leave, I drink it on the way or when I get there.
  2. Go to bed early. There was a time when I wouldn’t go to bed until 1am most nights. I would drag myself out of bed in the morning so I had just enough time to have a shower, get dressed and get in the car to go to work. I felt like shit and always unprepared. I looooove my sleep and my bed (I could easily spend days in bed sleeping if I allowed myself to) but I now enjoy mornings and I’m awake by 6:30am most mornings (I’m aiming for 5:30am in the new year). I find that my creative juices are flowing in the morning and it can be a really productive time. It also helps that my partner’s alarm goes off at 5:15am every morning and he’s out the door by 6:30am. I’ve been trying to make a rule that I need to be in bed by 10pm every night and although I don’t always stick to it, I’m getting better. Sleep is so important so make sure you get as much as you can. If you have a bad sleeping pattern then start by making small changes  and your body clock will adapt to the changes. Getting up and going to bed earlier will become second nature.
  3. Make time to exercise. I still struggle with this one! I know how good I feel when I do it and I know the mental and physical benefits will help me through the busy times and life in general. BUT sometimes I feel so exhausted that all I feel like doing is curling up on the lounge and reading a book. If you do feel like this sometimes, don’t be so hard on yourself because having some time out might be just the thing you need. I do struggle doing vigorous exercise when I’m busy but I always make sure I get outside on my lunch break for a 30-minute walk in the sunshine or do some sort of physical activity. Something is better than nothing! If money is an issue or you’re finding your usual routine boring check out these tips to get fit without a gym membership.
  4. Give yourself some down time. A really, really important one. Find the things that nourish your soul and do them regularly. Whether it’s taking a bath, meditation, reading a book, cooking or doing the gardening. Just make time to do those things. It’s the small things that can make a difference.
  5. It’s okay to say no. This is a hard one because if you’re anything like me you don’t like saying no. But over time I’ve learnt how important it is to prioritise and work out what and who is worth spending your energy on. You don’t have to say yes to everything and if you feel tired it might be your body telling you to slow down and to sit this one out. Don’t let FOMO get the better of you! Take a break when you need it and know that it’s okay to do so.
  6. Eat well. I love to cook but when I’m tired from a big day it’s the last thing I feel like doing. The trick is to prepare food when you have the time so it’s ready when you don’t. If you’ve got some spare time on a Sunday then spend it preparing food that will last a few days. Food that freezes is great so you can easily take out of the freezer to defrost. This lentil and mushroom bolognese recipes is delicious, easy and nutritious. Freeze it and when you’re ready to take it out cook up some spaghetti or pasta of your choice to go with it. I also love quinoa sushi. It doesn’t dry out and lasts 3 days in the fridge. Having food easily available in your fridge/freezer will prevent you from eating take away every night of the week. One night maybe two is fine but you don’t want to get yourself into a bad habit. It’s expensive and generally not as nutritious as cooking your own meal. Another tip is to work out your meal plan and shopping list ahead of time. I do this most weeks. I work out what we’re going to eat, write a list and go to the markets and grocery store on the weekend.
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Spending a little time doing these things can save you time and energy in the long run.Look after yourself and don’t let stress bring you down! Put in the effort to beat if so you can enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!