Written by Rachel Erwin, Registered Nutritionist
No matter how many times we hear “tis the season to be jolly”, Christmas can be a pretty stressful time. Here are our hacks to reduce seasonal stress and have a truly Merry Christmas!
Many of the top Christmas stressors involve shopping and gift-giving. There’s nothing quite like the crowds in Hong Kong shopping malls during Christmas! Then there’s the financial stress of buying gifts, the pressure of ticking off each name on our list, and the (often self-imposed) expectations regarding how much to give. Hongkongers typically don’t have large houses to store extra “stuff” so go for practicality or items you know they will use up like spa coupons or food and drink.
2.Disconnect from Electronics
Being addicted to your phone is a disturbingly prevalent phenomenon nowadays. If you have the habit of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, checking messages during dinner, or panicking when your battery drops below 20%, you could definitely use some time to disconnect.
During the holidays, schedule times for no electronics for the whole family. This will depend on how reliant you are on technology but it could just be during Christmas dinner or it could extend all day (or longer!). Don’t forget to place phones, iPads and laptops completely out-of-sight because if you can still see or hear it, it will be too tempting to cheat. Disconnecting from social media will also help manage unrealistic expectations and help you stay grounded in the present for a greater holiday experience.
It can be easy to be swept up in “commercial” Christmas but Christmas really is the season of giving. Go through your home and donate clothes, toys and other items to local charities. Or you can volunteer! Replace some Netflix time with walking rescued dogs, feeding abandoned kittens, preparing meal boxes for those in need, or sending gifts to elderly homes. It will go a long way to provide feelings of gratitude, appreciation, love and care. We guarantee you will feel extra special knowing you put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas.
4.Eat Well(ish) & Keep Active
Christmas is definitely a time to relax, loosen restrictions and indulge a little. However, despite what you may think, too many “treats” will have the opposite effect and create stress for the body and mind. Binging on sugary sweets, processed foods, alcohol and lots of meat will create a plethora of toxins for the body to deal with. As our gut is our second brain, whatever makes the gut unhappy, makes the brain unhappy – cue mood swings, fatigue, brain fog, irritability, anxiety and sadness. Exactly the opposite of how we want to feel during the festive season with our loved ones. Similarly, maintaining at least 60% of your current workout regime, or introducing light activity if you aren’t usually active will help your mind relax, achieve better sleep, prevent holiday weight gain, and give you more energy and clarity to enjoy the holiday.