The holidays are full of delicious food, old friends, and all-too-rare chances to catch up with our families. But they can also be totally anxiety-inducing, especially if we feel like we're walking on eggshells around our beloved family members and if we overindulge in food, drink and lack of down time.
I thought it important to share with you my tips on how to make the summer break. It's been a big and long year and you need this time to recharge and recalibrate.
You have been hanging out for this break for months. The weather is going to be great and you will have much needed time off from work. So prepare. Make a list today of all the things you want to do. Sleep, swim, shop, spend time with friends, spend time with family, spend time alone, travel, read, watch movies, paint, create - what ever it is. Prepare. Visualise yourself doing these things and tell people you are doing it. So often time passes us by and all of these daydreams we had about doing things just evaporates and you'll be back to work in 2016 before you know it. So just as Santa does, make a list.
2. Slow it down
When we're feeling defensive or stressed out, one of the first things that happens to our bodies is we tighten up and take shallower breaths, which heightens any negative emotional state we're feeling. So, the key is to slowwww everything down by taking deep breaths. This is also important because we often return to our old patterns of knee-jerk reactions when we're around family, but taking a few breaths will give us the space we need to truly respond to what someone is doing rather than just reacting. I highly recommend you take 10 minutes each day for you, time to breathe and decompress. Click here for a free 10 minute breath meditation
We can feel overwhelmed at this time of the year as there are rapid fire invitations. Everyone and anyone is throwing a party so between work committments and personal you may feel a little talked out. It's okay. Get some diary management happening, look at what you have to go to and what you want to go to. You don't have to be everything to everyone. It's okay to say no. People understand. Remember to put yourself first and get it in touch with what you want rather than what you think others want.
4. Be grateful
Gratitude goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness and really we have so much to be grateful for. It is easy to get caught up with what you don't have or what you want rather than what you do have. Give thanks for your life, your lifestyle, your friends, family, colleagues, freedom of speech and ability to earn money. We are all very lucky. Take a minute to make a list of things you're thankful for ahead of time, maybe when you're waiting for your train or plane home. Then, in the moment, you'll have that list to draw upon. You'll be armed with gratitude.
Most of us spend far too much time inside and tapping away on devices. So use this time to get outdoors into the fresh air and reconnect with nature. We often deny ourselves these pleasures, spend time at the beach, lake, river, park, bush, rainforest - whatever your preference indulgence in it and be mindful - open your senses to your environment - smell it, taste it, hear it, see it. Refer to your list in step one, is it mountain biking, kayaking, bushwalking, paddle boarding - what is it that you want to do. Do it and enjoy it.
We have been autopilots of our own lives, take time this summer to become more conscious, more aware, less autopilot and more manual. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the break and to really switch off so that when you come back in 2016 you are actually refreshed and ready for a great and wonderful year.
Create wellness in your everyday, withgrace