‘Tis The Season For Sleep – 4 Tips To Get The Rest You Need During The Stressful Holiday Period

It’s that time of year. Everything is starting to look red and green. There are office drinks nearly every night and shops are filled with a barrage of panicked shoppers, all red noses and frosty hands. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We all know that while the holiday season is a magical time for many, for others it can be nothing more than a stress-fest. There’s the pressure of finding the perfect present. The never-ending supply of treats that make you unable to get off the couch. The bickering with family members that comes with such proximity over an extended period of time. Not to mention trying to juggle your personal life with the increasing pressure of deadlines at work!

Christmas definitely has its highs, but its lows can leave you exhausted. Getting enough sleep is really important at any time of year; without it our bodies and minds simply don’t function properly. And if you don’t get enough sleep in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, your weakened immune system can leave you open to colds, the flu and other illnesses. Not exactly what you want in the lead up to the new year.

So here are 4 tips to help you stay rested in the run-up to the festivities:

1. Make use of naps

You might have a proper bedtime routine during the rest of the year, which helps you to sleep soundly. But in a flurry of school plays, festive drinks and office parties, your regular routine of long luxurious baths, meditation and early nights go flying out the window. Instead, you’re rarely in bed before midnight, yet somehow still expected to function properly the next day.

The trick here is to embrace power naps for a while. They may not be a long-term solution – because we all need to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night – but they can help you through the hectic holiday season in one piece. So when you get home from a long day, before putting your glad rags on for a long evening, take 15 minutes for a quick nap.

If you don’t have the ability to take a nap, 20 minutes a day of restful and mindful meditation can also re-center you for the day. Deep-breathing, getting some fresh air and simple stretches are also great ways to take a break during the busy season.

2. Focus on the joy

It’s common to get down or overly stressed at this time of year. And upsetting thoughts or niggling anxieties can plague us at the very moment we’re supposed to be getting some much-needed rest. What you choose to engage your mind in first thing in the morning and last thing at night can set the tone for either a restful period or a stressful one.

When you find that your mind is over-active at night, jumping between lists of things to do the next day and regrets over things in the day that’s gone, here is a little game you can play: Think of one good thing that happened that day – a stranger smiling at you, getting a free coffee, helping someone by giving directions – however small, focus on it for a few minutes. Think of how it made you feel in that moment and recreate that pleasant feeling.

Don’t just stop at one, think of two or three moments. Focusing on 3 instances of joy before drifting off really helps to clear the clutter from my mind. Try it – you’ll find yourself slipping into slumberland with a smile on your face.

3. Take care of yourself

At this time of year, you’re more likely to catch a cold or flu, especially if you’re not getting enough sleep. So make sure to carve some space out for self-care. If you feel a cold at the door, make a hot drink of honey, lemon, ginger and turmeric every night until you start to feel better. Keep wrapped up and eat nourishing, warming meals 3 times a day – no breakfast skipping allowed!

Self-care doesn’t have to mean anything extravagant. It can be as simple as setting aside some “me” time, reading a book, listening to a podcast or music, or talking a walk outside to clear your mind. When you look after your body, your mind will also feel more rested. And a healthy body and mind are the perfect ingredients for a sound sleep.

4. Create a nest

Just like bears find somewhere cozy for the colder months, so too should you find a sanctuary to hibernate in. Now we’re not advising you to sleep your way through Christmas – think of all the fun you’d miss out on! – but when you do settle down for the night, it should be somewhere that facilitates a deep, rejuvenating sleep.

To create a soothing environment, try lighting candles and burning some essential oils. Instead of your phone or laptop being the last thing you look at before your close your eyes, try reading a book to help slow down your mind and thoughts before you hit the pillow. Play some relaxing music or a guided meditation to calm your body and mind. And make sure the bed you fall into has all the comforts to lead you into la-la land.

A good night’s sleep can rejuvenate you and help you feel rested and ready to face each day during the busy holidays. Hopefully with these tips you’ll find the festive season less exhausting, more exciting – and a happier holiday all round!

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