If you’re anything like me at this time of year, you typically hear yourself saying these 4 words every day of the week right through to the New Year! Ok perhaps a bit of an over exaggeration but you get my point!
And how does this feed into Wellbeing and Mindfulness? Well it doesn’t really does it? By the time you get to January (or to Boxing day, let’s be honest) – you are crying out for that five week detox!
And that’s just to maintain your body balance, it’s not to mention the impact this overindulgence can have on our mental health!
So why do we do it to ourselves and how can we ensure that we don’t fall into the trap this year? I for one want to be more mindful about my social calendar over the Christmas period and how I can protect myself from the ‘January blues’ and I challenge you all to go on this journey with me! Here’s how:

1. Don’t over commit

Having battled with my Mental Health intermittently throughout my adult life – this is something that, in recent years, I’ve tried to feel less guilty about – it’s OK to say no, it’s OK to ask if you can confirm closer to the day and it’s OK to change your mind about things (as long as you’re not doing it in a twatty way or leaving other people to pick up the bill!) It’s even OK to commit to absolutely everything if that’s what you want to do! But knowing your limits and planning accordingly is going to be key in protecting your all-important downtime.

2. Make time to recharge

Partying can be just what you need to blow off some steam! But have you ever wondered why,
by the time it gets to Christmas eve, you feel like shit and can’t properly enjoy the holidays? I have, more times than I care to mention, and it’s usually because I don’t stop. I would classify myself as an ‘introverted, extrovert’ meaning that the idea of socialising can, at times, seem more appealing than the act itself and I always need my alone time to recharge after. Make sure you grab those precious moments to yourself to nurture your soul, whether that’s reading a book, cooking a nice meal or taking an indulgent bubble bath – give yourself time to recover.
And if you’re naturally extroverted? Then you’re never better than when you’re recharging your batteries around others so spread those wings my social butterflies – this season was made for you!

3. Take it easy on the Booze!

‘Lashing it up’ for 7 days in a row may sound like fun but the reality really isn’t! It increases your blood pressure and with proven side-effects like an irregular heartbeat; anxiety sufferers beware! ‘Beer fear’ is real – and if you suffer with panic attacks, a tight chest, or other symptoms associated with anxiety; it’s important to moderate the drinking. I have a few key dates over the Christmas period where I know I will be partying with the best of them, but I’m not expecting much from myself the next day and I certainly won’t be drinking myself into a coma! I also plan to be mindful of any unscheduled dates that may creep in and consider whether I actually need to drink at these times.

4. Eat Clean!

Obviously this isn’t going to be possible all the time, but in the moments in between make sure you give your body the nourishment and recovery it needs! I am trying to stay on plan with my healthy eating regime in between the socialising…piling unhealthy food on top of heavy drinking is a recipe for disaster…I’ve just made this mistake over the weekend and I feel terrible. Replacing my actual hangover with a carb hangover wasn’t my best idea and I don’t want to spend the rest of my holidays feeling this bad so I’m going to listen to my body and give it the love and care it needs!

5. Stay Active

In the interest of transparency – I’m not going to lie to you – this one is going to be hard for me! 2019 has been a particularly difficult year for me Mental Health wise and one of the first things to drop out is my physical activity. The irony isn’t lost on me that endorphins and serotonin levels are increased through exercise…the one thing that can help me feel better is the thing I physically (and psychologically) I can’t muster up the energy to do. But I think we all need to
remember that this doesn’t have to be as intensive as a HIIT workout or Bootcamp (even if I still remember the glory days when I used to go for a run on Christmas morning and how smug it used to make me feel!) So, I am entering into the festive season with a promise to myself to stay active…this will involve more walking, gentle exercise and attending mindfulness sessions which I am blessed to have access to every lunchtime at my place of work.

So, there it is folks my Top 5 suggestions for staying well this festive season I would love you all to join me! – I’m still going to be saying ‘Fuck it…it’s Christmas’ but this year it’s going to be to all the right things…

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Alison Hames

Alison Hames

I’ve never been one to conform; where other people ‘zig’ – I’ll always ‘zagged’, and in a world where doing the ‘right thing’ is rewarded, life has sometimes been tricky. What I guess I’ve learnt, 3 years on from my trip of a lifetime, is that contentment is a state of mind, it doesn’t come from where you are in the world or your social status, it comes from doing what makes you happy and what makes you feel passionate. This is what I plan on focusing on going forward and I’m excited to share my journey with you all as I go on it!

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