By Marie Duffy, PR and Communications Officer
Navigating the festive season, whether you’re immersed in Christmas celebrations or not, often means a break from the usual grind of everyday life. While the holiday spirit brings joy, it can also disrupt our well-established routines. Despite the freedom of spontaneity, routines play a vital role in maintaining our mental health. The holiday hustle can easily tip the scales toward chaos, but research consistently highlights the grounding effects of a routine, especially during intense periods like Christmas. Whether you find yourself surrounded by family or enjoying solitude, having a structured approach like having a plan or simple routine can help you navigate the intensity of the Christmas period.
This is not a call for a strict military regimen. Instead, consider adopting a few guidelines to bring a sense of control to your days. As much as we cherish the lack of a schedule during holidays, our bodies and minds thrive when there is a bit of order. During the whirlwind of the Christmas holidays, let us explore why having a routine can be your secret weapon for a more balanced and enjoyable festive season.
Have a lie in but don’t oversleep every day
Being out of a routine or not having a specific reason to get up can make getting out of bed difficult. Try to get up at a reasonable hour. That doesn’t have to mean getting up at the crack of dawn. You are allowed a lie in but try to avoid getting up after lunch time every day over the festive period as your body will feel sluggish. Having a rough time as a guideline to get up each morning will help give you some direction. This is easier said than done if you are going to bed later than usual, which brings us onto tip number two.
Don’t make every night a late one
While it is important to have some fun, try not to make every night a late night. Without sounding like Scrooge, try to get some balance. If you do have a late night, make up for it by having an earlier night the next night. Even trying to keep things a little balanced will go a long way to helping you feel less anxious and stressed.
Have at least one small goal for each day
Even if you have nowhere to go or nothing do try to plan something small to do each day. It can help to write down some simple things you will do every day. They don’t have to be lots of big things, sometimes even the small things are important. If just planning to have a shower and brush your teeth is where you’re at, that’s ok.
Do something nice for yourself
Why not plan to do something nice for yourself each day. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or expensive. Treat yourself to a hot chocolate, put on that movie that always makes you laugh or treat yourself to a spa day where you put on a face mask and pamper yourself and do all the things you never usually have time to do.
Get out in nature
Plan to go for a walk outside even if it’s just around your house. Or why not have your morning coffee while sitting outside and try to soak in whatever winter sunlight you can. It’s important to get that vital Vitamin D into your body (weather permitting of course).
Winter exercise can be tricky as it can be challenging to get outside when it is dark and cold. But try to get outside to exercise outside even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Check out our video on the benefits of exercising in nature here If you can’t get outside, try sticking on some music and doing some gentle movement or even cleaning a part of your house.
Talk to someone
If you do notice that things are more difficult than usual over the Christmas period don’t be afraid to talk to friends or family or someone you trust. Even though it might feel difficult at first, it always helps to talk things over with someone. You don’t even have to know them; some people find talking to a stranger helpful. Samaritans is always available on 116 123 or if you prefer to text, text HELLO to 50808 for some support. Don’t forget to check out our supports page for links to further supports that you may find helpful.