Mel Collie | 3 ways to cope with stress levels this Christmas
The words stress and Christmas are hard to write in the same sentence, unless is “stress free” or “reduce stress”. You know deep down that Christmas is supposed to be joyful time of celebration and remembering friends and family, helping others, yet each year we place an unmanageable amount of stress on ourselves… why is that and how can we help ourselves reduce or at least cope with it?
Heres my 3 ways, I hope at least one of them helps you out this year.
1. Stress is ultimately a reaction to our thoughts, that means we have thoughts that arent in line with what we want or who we are deep down. Our anxieties about what others expect from us are from our thoughts . We are worried about not having enough food on the table, the right food that looks and tastes good, worried about not spending enough on presents, worried about not being a Scrooge, worried about appearances, being judged for our decisions, worried about money. We are all the same with our worries and concerns. Recognising that its our own thoughts we have from beliefs we have from our upbringing or from peers that create such stresses. Step back and look at what it is you are anxious about this Christmas. Is it the same as last year? How did that go? Did you hate every minute of it? Is that true? Is it really true? How would this year be different without that thought. Without those thoughts of “It wont be good enough, I dont have enough, I cant do enough, they will not like me, they will judge me, I have to buy this or they wont speak to me again.”
How do you know thats all true? Really, do you know it to be true?
Where would you be without all those words in your mind?
Now for he hard bit … turn it all around…maybe YOU wont like you if you don’t do all that stuff, maybe you will feel like you have let yourself down, maybe you are doing all of this because its the way you believe it should be, maybe its not “them” who create your worry, maybe its YOU beliefs and values you hold so dear that are stressing you. Take a few moments to look inside your mind and your beliefs and values.
Are YOU important to you?
2. A great calming influence is a nice cup of tea..but wait a sec, not just a cup of Typhoo….I mean a hormonal calming tea, one that really does do what it says on the tin. Tulsi Tea is made from a plant in India called Holy Basil. So if you want some holy stuff around you this Christmas, drink some Holy Basil. It calms your innermost critic. Helps you calm and reduce Cortisol, so drink it from about 12.00 – 8pm when Cortisol should naturally be dropping, but our “modern” lifestyle of lights on when dark and working late, means it stays unnaturally high. Help your body help your demands of it.
Heres some more information on the benefits of Tulsi: http://organicindia.mercola.com/tulsi-tea.aspx
3. Rhodiola – yes, another herb! I’m such a hippy! I am one of those “must get on with it” people, always rusching about and doing something, but to my own personal detriment, and especially my healths. Many times I’ve been run down, especially when I worked in London, working from 6am to 9 pm most days. When I left the “rat race” to live somewhere beautiful, away from concrete blocks of flats and loads of shops (Croydon – though the parks are lovely!) I ended up in Cornwall, originally hailing from Brighton, I love being by the sea, I feel less claustrophobic having all that open space of just looking out and seeing sea, not seeing houses.
But, you get used to life around you (in other words, you bring the same stresses with you because they are in your own head) and it wasnt long that I was doing more stuff and stressing about a mortgage and a house and starting up a business teaching Pilates. When I went on a course to study the Endocrine System, Nutrition and Fitness, I practiced what I was preaching and changed my diet of white bread, pasta and cheese to a diet of eggs, greens, chicken, stir frys, water (I didnt drink any, now it 2 – 3 litres a day) herbal teas instead of coffee (Tulsi Tea of course!) and a supplement called Rhodiola. In a bottle with a pipette, dropping a few of this herb solution into water in the morning, and I was calm and could cope with the day. Its a bit like Tulsi Tea I suppose. It helps your mood, helps cope with depression, alleviates mental fatigue. Your health food shop will sell it.
There you go, just 3 little miracle workers for you. But theres one more thats totally free,and you do it everyday, and that is sleep, good quality sleep. Your natural clock wants to slow down and rest when it gets dark, and wake up when it gets light, its all it knows. The same runs true for plants and flowers, animals and funghi.
Our life now tells us to be awake longer and sleep less, with more electrical stuff in our rooms like a TV and mobile, affecting sleep, we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Heres a few tips to help you as they helped me, i was rubbish at falling asleep, took me at least an hour to get to sleep, no matter what time I went to bed , regularly waking during the night.
1. Sleep in the darkest room you can – get a blackout blind if there is a street light outside annoying you. Turn off the TV from the wall. Turn the digital clock around so the glow isn’t affecting you.
2. Move the Mobile. Put your phone outside you room or turn it off. If you use it for an alarm you will still hear it if its outside your bedroom door. If thats not possible, buy a proper alarm clock and turn off your mobile, its radiation waves affect your sleep patterns.
3. Don’t drink caffeine after 12.00, it stays in your body for a very long time, affecting your sleep rhythm and your bodies natural ability to heal itself. Get on the Tulsi Tea!
4. Unwind, or are you thinking that checking facebook or emals before you sleep will help you relax? You really arent missing anything, so dont check your messages after 9.30pm, the light from the laptop/mobile will stimulate your brain into thinking its time to wake up. Have a hot bath, light those candles, relax. Kids have a bedtime routine, why dont you?
Its down to you to make this time of year one that you will enjoy, its no one elses responsibility, they are way to busy rushing around the shops to think about you, be awrae of that if you worry about what others will think of you, what they think of you is truly none of your business, in a warm and kind way, that means, that its none of your business because they have their own worries, the same as yours, and if they do judge you, it will be for a fleeting moment, not for the whole day or longer. their judgements are outward reflections of their inward troubles. When I watch a programme like Jeremy Kyle, for example, I see a complaining person who inside, doesnt like themselves, not the other person they are shouting at, but who hasnt seen themselves for the beautiful person they really are, I see a confused person.
A person who you think judges you, has their own problems to deal with being kind to themselves. A person who I think is judging me, I feel sorry for, because they are not liking themselves very much, you never get attacked by a person who is more successful than you. I no longer worry about what they think of me, I used to, used to be a people pleaser, always worries about what others thought of me, tried to be liked by everyone, but thats not going to always be the case. Look after yourself first. Always. Fit your own oxygen mask before fitting others.
Be healthy and enjoy looking after yourself, its not a selfish act, well, it is in a way, but , no one else cares about your health, well-being and future days on the planet than your own self. So, believe in yourself, take one small step towards loving yourself from within, because when you do, you are then going to be there 100% for others who you wolld love to help out and then share your story on how you combat stress this Christmas, and well into the new year too.
Your wellbeing is for life, not just for Christmas.