Life can really start to ramp up when we're staring down the barrel of the last week before Christmas and jumping into the new year. You have the power to flip that with these five ways to stay grounded in your health and wellness when it feels like life is demanding otherwise. Don't collapse into the holiday weekend tired, burnt out, and tight. Let's do it differently, shall we?
I am doing these myself today, Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm letting Thursday, December 23 be whatever it is, and Christmas Eve is already written off. Such freedom! I find when I list my priorities and stick to a defined schedule for the them, I feel much more calm.
1. The 10 Minute Monday Brain Dump
Truly you can do this any day, but it really works well as the starting point on a Monday morning, and especially that pre-Christmas Monday, December 20!
Take a blank piece of paper or a journal page, and write down EVERY SINGLE THING taking up space in your mind. This is not your to-do list, this is a brain dump - write it all down, especially the things you think you need to do this week or before the new year. This should bring some relief to have it written down and out of your head.
2. Prioritize 3 Things, Schedule Them and Categorize the Rest
Look at your list and choose only three priority items to focus on this week. This may feel hard at first, but I assure you that giving focused attention to three priorities will feed your sense of calm and control.
For your three priorities, write down the steps you need to do and decide when you will work on them this week. Schedule it and stick to it.
For the rest, categorize them for future weeks, after the new year, or let them go. Not everything needs doing.
Bonus: I find it helpful to use a timer for my priority work. I work in short spurts of less than one hour and I quit or take a break when the timer finishes.
Now Onto Nourishment...
3. Simple Meals Only
...and actually stop to eat. That is, stop the train you're on and take a break to eat simple, nourishing food.
Yes, coming from this cooking enthusiast, sometimes there are weeks when only simple meals with few ingredients are the way to go. Let simplicity be the priority: Clear the fridge and pantry, and use food you have and want to use up to make space for holiday feasts and a fresh new year start. Even better if you can save time (and money) by avoiding those extra trips to the store.
Try a simple homemade soup or light pasta. You can also create a simple "bowl" using rice, canned beans and roasted veggies, or add fish or chicken from the freezer.
4. 10-20 Minutes of Movement, Two to Four Times
Today, I resisted 'having time' for movement. But, I could feel my spine was rigid, shoulders were tight and my breath was shallow. I mean, I needed to get everything done, right? Noticing this was my invitation to flip it, again.
You have time for 10-20 minutes and in fact you'll feel so much more ready to take care of your life today once your body is loosened and you have created room to breath. I joined The Balanced Life Sisterhood last year and find the range of pilates-style workouts suit me well right now, and I especially love the TBL 'grace over guilt' approach that makes for such a positive and inclusive wellness community. You can also head over to youtube and easily search short yoga reset videos, like this Morning Flow from my personal favourite, Yoga with Adriene.
5. Swap Coffee for Warm or Room Temperature Water
In these rushy days, we may automatically reach for that 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee to try to keep up the pace, or to make up for lack of sleep or restful downtime. In fact, you'll do much better and feel more alert if you hydrate with warm or room temperature water. While coffee will dehydrate you and may increase anxiety and diminish sleep quality, prioritizing hydration will support your digestion, help alleviate dry skin & eyes, relieve muscle tension, and help you feel more capable of dealing with stress.
Aim to sip on three mugs of warm water or herbal tea, in addition to other fresh water, for a total of at least 2 litres per day.
Join me in doing this week differently!