Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Ways Christmas can Change Your Life

Posted by Sacha Crouch for Health + Wellbeing - Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:42

Christmas is often associated with overindulging in food and alcohol, stressing about feeding the entire extended family and dealing with family drama. Despite what is meant to be a relaxing and rejuvenating time of year, for many it is the exact opposite.

Personally, I do a lot of travelling over this time so this can take its toll if I’m not careful and leave me feeling like I need the rest of my holiday time just to recover from the time away rather than to rejuvenate for the year ahead.

Last year, I decided to approach Christmas from a new perspective—seeing it as a time of regaining balance, not giving in to excessive indulgence and making time to look after me. As a result, I began the New Year with healthy habits that kick started a fabulous year rather than an entire January trying to regain my sense of wellbeing.

But, I’m also not just thinking about health, I’m also talking about changing your perspective on life. Christmas is a great time to fall in love with life again, reconnect with what is truly meaningful and get your priorities back in order.

Today’s blog therefore is a handful of tips to help you take advantage of the festive season to improve your life, rather than cause a big hiccup in the middle of it requiring weeks on end for recovery.

Ways to Use Christmas to Change Your Life

1.   Start a healthy Christmas Day tradition
Christmas is all about tradition so why not start one in your family that supports your health and wellbeing rather than packs on the kilos. Get creative about Christmas lunch and introduce a dish for the day that is healthy, low in fat and makes you feel good after eating it rather than the need to slouch on the couch for several hours afterward. Engage in an activity together as a family that requires exercise like swimming in the pool, heading up to the park for a family game of cricket or going for a long walk together after lunch.

2.   Do a random act of kindness every day
As you may have heard before, when we give and help others it results in our brain releasing a surge of feel good chemicals in our brain (like serotonin). These chemicals combat stress, depression and anxiety… a recipe for happiness. Create a list with your hubby or kids of one small thing you can do each day from Christmas Eve to New Years Eve to brighten someone else’s day (and in turn your own). Invite a lonely neighbour for a coffee, spend the day smiling at everyone you meet or let someone with young kids in the supermarket line go through the register before you. Be spontaneous and have a game with your family to each find something you can do to help someone else that day.

3.   Rekindle a broken or lost relationship
Instead of dreading the family gatherings, how can you nurture a relationship that is usually a struggle or reconnect with someone you have lost touch? Give that extra bit of love, forgiveness or caring to someone you’ve been holding resentment toward for far too long (after all resentment only hurts you!).

4.   Practice gratitude
Spend the Christmas period practicing gratitude for all that you already have in your life. This is one of the most calming, rejuvenating things you can do for yourself. Gratitude makes you feel happier about your life and shifts you away from complaining and wanting things to be different. Keep a notebook specifically for the Christmas period and try and find 101 things you are grateful for.

5.   Let your inner child loose on the world
A big stressor in our life comes from taking ourselves too seriously. Lighten up, have some fun, and get back in touch with your playful side over Christmas. Remember the things you used to do for the pure fun, and enjoyment of it. Get out and do these things, let loose and forget about your responsibilities for a while.

Love and hugs,


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