While the festive season can be a wonderful time of love, laughter, light and hope, it's also a time when we can feel vulnerable to the increased pressures that come with this special time of year. Here are a few simple tips to ensure you enjoy a stress-free festive season!
Most of us look forward to the Christmas feast, the joys of present opening and enjoying a break from work, but we need to survive the pre-Christmas preparation to get there; the shopping, wrapping, cleaning, cooking - just thinking about your to-do list to complete before the big day can be dizzying! With this in mind, endota spa, has teamed up with independent GP, Dr Lily Tomas, to offer you simple tips on how you can manage your stress levels this Christmas, to ensure you enjoy a stress-free festive season!
1. Book yourself in for a relaxation massage
During a massage there are a number of physiological and involuntary changes taking place in many body systems, including our nervous system, our gastro-intestinal system, our cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as our endocrinological (hormone) system and our immune system. These changes are the additional health and wellness benefits attributed to massage that we often take for granted, that extend well after the time when our massage has finished. Such benefits include reduced levels of cortisol (hormone released when stressed), released tension in the muscles, slowed heart and breathing rate, decreased blood pressure and improved immune system.
2. Start the day with breathing exercises
Breathing exercises help to calm and clear the mind – find a quiet place, close your eyes, sit up straight and place your hand on your stomach; as you breathe slowly in and out, feel the breath start in your abdomen and work its way up the body and out. When you are relaxed, you tend to breathe through your nose in a slow, even and gentle way – by attempting to copy this breathing pattern it helps to calm the nervous system which controls the body’s involuntary functions; therefore encouraging the body to relax.
3. Continue with your regular exercise regime to help unwind tension
We all know that exercising is good for us, but often when we are busy and stressed it is one of the first things that slips off of our to-do list. Virtually any exercise is a stress-reliever – often after a game, match or exercise class, you forget about your stress and worries because your attention is focused elsewhere. Even getting out of the office for a quick walk around the block will do wonders - remember exercise releases endorphins – the brains ‘happy’ neuro transmitters which leaves us feeling good!
4. Take up yoga or tai chi as they help to focus the mind and keep you relaxed
A particular form of exercise that I recommend is yoga or tai chi. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. The promotion of physical relaxation through some of the movements will stretch, twist and rotate muscles, tendons and ligaments to release tension.
5. Remember the importance of a nutritious breakfast and plenty of clean filtered water
We don’t need to be reminded that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there are many reasons behind this. Eating a breakfast especially one that is nutritious and healthy, gives us an energy boost and allows us to stay focused for longer; if your day is looking busy with lots to get through, sharper and longer focus will ensure you work as efficiently as possible. It can also reduce morning crankiness!
6. Consider adding nutritional supplements to your diet
It’s important generally for your health that you are getting the right amount of vitamins in your everyday diet, however many don’t realise just how important this is for stress levels and general mental health – for example, B Vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Food, and namely eating healthy, is often one of the first things to slip when you’re busy and have heightened stress levels. I recommend planning your meals as far in advance as this will not only be one less thing to worry about when it comes to cooking, but it will ensure you don’t resort to unhealthy food which lacks the nutrition you require.
7. Look out for those around you
There’s a good chance that if you are feeling the pressures of Christmas and the festive season, then others around you will be too. Keep an eye out for friends or families who may be showing signs of stress and work with them to help reduce their stress levels (which in turn will help yours too!) Go for a walk outside with a stressed friend, spend some time doing an exercise class together or even better gift them with a spa voucher so that they can enjoy a relaxation massage – the ultimate stress reliever!
Endota spa is Australia's largest day spa and has 90 locations all over the country. Find your local spa at endotadayspa.com.au