The days are stretching out and the lure of the outdoors beckons with its sunshine and mild evenings. But as we hurtle toward Christmas, it’s easy to suddenly feel super busy and a tad overwhelmed.  It's the time of year when things ramp up with looming end of year deadlines as well as catch ups, end of year presentations, Summer BBQs and dinner parties. Ensure you also carve out time to take care of yourself this busy season. 

Here are some simple ways to reduce stress, get the most out of the weather and fit in some self care in between the end of year festivities. 

Take advantage of the weather and head outdoors

When catching up with friends or family try to arrange a venue outdoors.  Explore the local gardens and parks as they burst into full bloom or hang out at the beach or a nearby national park. Instead of being crammed indoors organise a picnic or BBQ, a game of cricket or sandcastle building tournament.  This also takes the stress out of having to host a catch up at your home.  Simply throw a pretty rug on the grass, (ensure there’s some shade) and ask everyone to bring a plate to share.

Get Some Exercise

With the gorgeous mild evenings finally here, plus having the sun up till 8pm, it’s the perfect time of year to go for a brisk walk before or after work.  It can be easy to put off our exercise routine while there’s so much to do and so many people to see, but a 20 minute walk around the block or a weekly yoga class will clear your head and keep you energised for the busy time ahead.  Alternatively weave in incidental exercise with the kids at the beach, pool or go for walks in the bush on the weekend. 

Stay Hydrated and Well Nourished

If hosting a party or Christmas dinner ensure you keep water jugs and other non-alcoholic options flowing so everyone can stay hydrated.  A bag of chips and a tub of dip is easy entertaining food, but don’t forget to throw in some carrot sticks and a fruit platter so people can reach for more nourishing options if they so choose.

Know your alcohol limits and keep yourself hydrated (with non alcoholic fluids) during parties and gatherings.  Aim to alternate water with alcohol throughout the night and try not to drink on an empty stomach.  A glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon the morning before a big party will help to give your liver a kick start and prepare it for the night ahead.

Coconut water is a great rehydrating option for a hangover.  It has loads of nutrients like potassium and electrolytes to help replenish what you've lost and give you back your mojo.  A slice of Vegemite toast has a nice boost of vitamin B (which gets depleted after drinking).  Team it with a couple of soft boiled eggs and you have a winning protein rich combination for a queasy belly the morning after.

Guard against Drama and Protect your Energy

Sometimes end of year gatherings bring together a mismatch of individuals who might not ordinarily choose to socialise with each other.   Be respectful to everyone, but especially to those you don’t know very well and even to those who trigger you.  Keep your boundaries strong and stay in your own lane.  Respectfully refuse to be dragged into other people’s dramas, pressures, expectations or judgements. 

Don’t Forget to Press Pause 

It's when we are the busiest that we usually need the most downtime.  How can you ensure your cup stays full as the days get longer and the calendar fills up? Carve out time for yourself every day.  Add it to your 'to do' list if you must.  It’s so nice to see friends, connect with family and reminisce over the year that was with colleagues.  However make sure you also have some quiet time.   Spending quality time on your own will give you a bit of time to relax and reflect on your year.  A sleep in, a solitary swim in the ocean, or a quiet night in will help to replenish your energy levels so you can get back out again and have fun. 

Intention is Everything

Make a conscious effort to ensure your stress levels don't escalate and you don't lump unrealistic expectations or extra responsibilities onto your shoulders this Silly Season.  Set the intention to make this festive season one that nourishes you, not one which depletes you.  You may need to set boundaries around who you see, where you go and for how long.  It may mean being mindful of the amount of alcohol and other foods and drinks you reach for at parties and gatherings.  It might mean saying no to attending all-of-the-things, and yes to lying on the couch, having a nap or going for a bush walk. 

We can't be everything to everyone, but at the very least we can aim to be kind to ourselves and our bodies.  It might be a busy time of year in many ways, but it is also an opportunity to unwind from the year that was.  When we take care of ourselves we can then take better care of those we love.  Making for an enjoyable and restful holiday season for everyone.

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.  

30 December 2022