Surviving the Silly Season

As I begin writing this, there are signs and indications around the town of what is to come.  Christmas decorations are appearing around town (including at the Loft.). Soon we are organising our diaries around staff parties, other end of year shenanigans, and last minute (“I haven’t seen them all year, so better now or never”) catchups with friends. Then it’s shopping lists, last day of school and, maybe for some travel arrangements, before the Broome exodus, as we fly off to other parts of the country to celebrate Christmas.  Before you know it, it’s Christmas eve and with one eye on a Christmas movie re-run we’re wrapping presents and thinking to ourselves – next year, it will be different. It won’t be so stressful or busy. Hmmm, how so? Why not make it this year? 

Here are my 5 tips for Creating Balance at Christmas.

Creating Balance at Christmas

Creating Balance at Christmas

 

Firstly, don’t get caught up in the sticky tape of wrapping presents! Oh, Anna, don’t do comedy – stick with the massage gig!

Say No & ask for help: If the social calendar is looking too busy, it’s ok to say no to a few engagements.  Don’t feel obliged to go to everything. If you are the kind of person who takes on all the tasks for Christmas Day, spread the responsibilities out so that you don’t get overburdened.  

Give yourself a present: What would you really like to do for Christmas?  Make sure you take some time out after Christmas to do something you really want to do, no matter what it is.

Budget: Christmas can get a bit pricey with purchasing presents or even buying food for the day.  Depending on who you are spending Christmas with, perhaps amongst the adults you can set a budget for presents or do a Secret Santa. Maybe take a collection for a charity instead.

Overindulgence:  This is a big one at Christmas.  There is always so much food, alcohol and sweet treaties.  It’s like for that one day of the year, we give ourselves the day off from being good with our eating. However, it’s not just that one day, it’s all the parties and socialising before Christmas day that we end up regretting, berating ourselves or analysing what we have consumed.  In reality, our bodies can’t differentiate between what day it is only our mind that knows. So here are a few tips:

Christmas parties – don’t rock up starving, have a protein-rich snack beforehand to curb hunger.

Stand at a distance from the food table to avoid “snacking on the snacks.”

Eat mindfully & say no if you can’t eat anymore. 

Take a healthy plate to the party – everyone else will appreciate it too.

Don’t stop your health and wellbeing routines: If you do morning exercise keep it up.  If you get regular massages or reiki healings, keep them scheduled.  Continuing your routines is great for your overall mental and physical wellbeing.  A little time out to recharge doesn’t go astray.  Even on Christmas Day, if it gets too much with certain family members, take a breather and go for a walk.

Don’t let the silly season get too crazy. Creating Balance at this busy time is possible.  It should be the time of peace, love and joy with family & friends. Keep that as your main mantra.  Christmas happens every year, so whatever you don’t quite achieve this year, make note of it and try again next year.

Merry Christmas.

Eat, Pray, Love Your Downtime

“I’ve been looking forward to this all week,” is one sentence I hear a lot from my clients.  This is followed by life is busy, time is flying, there are endless to-do lists, not enough time in the day.

They happily get on the table, zone out for an hour and then at the end of the session, declare that they feel really relaxed, dozy and don’t feel like doing anything else for the rest of the day. They had a whole list as long as their arm of things to do post massage, and now the thought of negotiating shops or chores is a bit too much. (As if you are going to feel like doing anything after a massage with me, on my magic table).

Then I get that look that says, “can you please give me permission to not do anything else for the rest of the day?” or the other look “Is it ok if I just go relax and do what I want to do to?”

Relaxation, Creating Balance

Eat Pray Love Your Downtime

My reply: “Absolutely! Take it easy for the rest of the day.  Go sit on the beach or read a book. You don’t need to ask me. Just do it. As a therapist, I encourage rest and relaxation, as it is important about Creating Balance in life.

So, it got me thinking. Why is it that we need permission to relax? Why do we feel guilty for wanting to take time out to relax or do something that gives us pleasure?

There’s a scene from the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Elizabeth is taking a Gap Year through Italy, India & Bali. In Italy. She’s learning about Italian culture, the language and basically eating her way through every pasta dish on the menu, and of course the art of pleasure.  In this scene, her Italian friend Luca Spaghetti passionately compares the American and Italian way of life. In his opinion, Americans don’t know how to enjoy themselves without feeling guilty. He says that they know entertainment but not pleasure. Americans need to be told they’ve earned the right to relax after burning themselves out at work.  In the opinion of Luca, Italians on the other hand, don’t need to be told. They plan their breaks with no guilt attached and take them.

So, are we really conditioned to be so busy that we can only accept pleasurable things to do or “downtime”, or that moment of relaxation as a reward? Why can’t we be like Luca and know that pleasure and rest are what we deserve and are entitled to, without the permission?

Is it the idea that if we are not seen as being busy we’re lazy, useless or unproductive?  I am not saying we shouldn’t be busy either.  At times we need to be productive and get things done.  It’s about knowing when to switch off and do it without hesitation or reservation.

If we were told it was compulsory for our health and wellbeing to factor in downtime – would we think about it?  It should be part of our lifestyle and a normal part of life

Downtime, rest and pleasure are different for everyone. Some people find their best form of rest and switching off is by going paddle boarding, while for others it’s reading a book.  How often do you get to do that?

I’m not here to tell you how to relax and there are many ways to relax. I simply invite you to adopt the idea that you don’t need permission or an excuse to have a massage or sit on the beach all afternoon.  Yes, you deserve it.  So, reward yourself, then get into that habit of doing it all the time without permission.  At the end of the day, it is all about Creating Balance in your life.