Set the Tone for 2015 with the Right Pre-Holiday Habits
The lead up to the end of the year can be stressful with work to wrap up and lots of Christmas festivities to organise. How do you get through it with the least amount of stress and with energy still left to actually enjoy the holidays?
December is an exciting time for many reasons but because it’s so busy it’s very easy for it to become quite stressful too. You don’t want to end up rushing yourself around to the extent that you’re too exhausted to enjoy the fun of the holidays when they finally do come around. The good news is that you can start practicing your new 2015 habits already now to manage the pre-holiday busyness in a more helpful way, and you’ll also be setting the right tone for 2015 when it does come around.
The pre-holidays habits you want to put in place are the ones which help you to stay energised, positive and relaxed. There are hundreds of things you could do, but there are certain basics you simply can’t function without. The six habits I’ve listed below are the ones which affect my energy levels the most, and also the ones which have a lot of scientific evidence behind them. Some of them might seem quite simple at first glance, but it is often the simplest ones that are the hardest to implement.
6 Pre-Holiday Habits to Master
- Start the day with exercise. You’ll improve your circulation and wake up both your body and mind. This will make you start the day alert, focused and energised. If you struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, this is even more important to you. The more you move the less lethargic you’ll feel and the more ready you’ll be to brave the day ahead. Even a 10 minute yoga session first thing or getting off the tube one stop earlier to walk 15 minutes to work will do the trick. This is also the best time to exercise if you’re looking to get fitter because your willpower is at its strongest in the morning so you’re more likely to commit to it than in the evening after a long day at work.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is the only time your body has to recover from the day. When you sleep your brain is forming new pathways as it digests what you learned on that day and the cells in your body are repairing themselves. If you don’t sleep enough, you don’t give your body or mind a chance to succeed. You’re posing all sorts of unnecessary health risks on yourself and you are immediately going to be more unproductive and grumpy. Make the time to sleep and you’ll be ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
- Eat enough healthy carbohydrates. I don’t care what kind of diet you’re on, either way you have got to eat enough healthy carbohydrates (such as wholewheat products, wild rice, quinoa and oatmeal). Your brain literally doesn’t work without them. You’re also happier and less angry on a good carbohydrate diet (verses a high protein diet for example). In the winter your body also consumes more in an attempt to keep you warm agains the cold weather so it’s even more important now.
- Make time to fully switch off. Our to-do lists get huge in December with end of year work wrap up, Christmas shopping, festivities planning, and setting goals for the new year. That makes it really hard for us to switch off. We lie to ourselves, saying that we’ll work extra hard now to switch off fully at Christmas. But if you don’t switch off at least for an hour a day now, you’re going to run the risk of burnout and actually spending your Christmas break sick (trust me, I’ve learned the hard way!). The more you allow yourself to switch off, the more relaxed you’ll be and as a result the more productive you’ll be as well because you’ve given yourself a break. And no sleeping doesn’t count as switching off! I’m talking about meditating, reading a good book, having a quiet movie night in or whatever it is that helps you totally chill.
- Choose to be grateful. In the chaos of Christmas we often forget to stop and truly reflect on all the things we are grateful for. How amazing is it that you’re able to celebrate Christmas with your loved ones? How humbling is it know that you don’t need to worry about having a roof over your head or hot running water in your house? How nice is it to have a so you afford to give your loved ones gifts? From having a loving partner to supportive parents to encouraging friends, it’s the people we also need to appreciate. It’s so easy to take these things for granted when they are always around us yet these are the things which truly make our lives special. Stop and say thanks. To yourself, to the people around you, to the world.
- Ask for help when you need it. Asking for helping isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom. And it’s also unselfish. When you allow someone else to help you, you’re giving them the opportunity to be generous which will make them feel good. You’ll make everything a bit easier and more fun because things become more of a team effort. Don’t try to be a superwoman and do it all yourself - it’s only with others you can create a ‘super team’.
The more you practice these behaviours, the more automatic they will become. It’s only when you start to do them subconsciously that they turn into habits. But don’t let that put you off. They are well worth it. The more you embed these into your life, the happier, more relaxed and more positive you will be. As a result, you’ll also be more productive and more likely to succeed. Last but not least, you’ll also be inspiring the people around you with your feel good vibes, infecting others with your happiness everywhere you go.
Susanna Halonen, also known as the Happyologist®, is a life coach and writer based in London, England. She is also the author of Screw Finding Your Passion: It’s Within You, Let’s Unlock It, which debunks the myth that you should follow one passion and instead shows how you can live your whole life with passion.