Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Sleep and Energy Coach
Develop good nutritional habits: Christmas can be a time of over-indulgence, why not try to use the time to get into some good habits: eat breakfast every morning within 30 minutes of rising to kick start your energy and metabolism and minimise production of adrenaline – it also helps burn any extra calories consumed during the day more efficiently; stay hydrated – we actually become stressed when we’re dehydrated, particularly if alcohol is consumed, so aim for 1-2 litres a day; and cut back on caffeine which is an artificial form of adrenaline and can affect sleep patterns leaving you jittery and anxious – you should avoid caffeine altogether after 3pm.
Correct the rest-activity balance: Recharge your batteries by getting good rest and exercise, topping up good quality sleep with power naps if possible – research has shown that these naps rebalance the immune and nervous systems. Exercise is a great antidote to stress so try to keep active – simply walking is great exercise and a very effective mood-booster. Make sure you put healthy boundaries in place, make rules for switching off Blackberries and mobile phones to allow time to properly engage with family and friends.
Do something you care about – everyday: These can be little things such as listening to your favourite song or relaxing in the bath with a book that lifts your spirits.
Take a deep breath: Jean-Paul Satre said ‘Hell is other people’ and all too often at Christmas we are surrounded by friends and family when all we want is some peace and quiet. If you find yourself getting caught up in conflict, pause, take a deep breath and ask “is it really worth it?” Disengage and keep your energy and emotions intact – if that doesn’t work, find a constructive way of releasing any rage: talk to someone, sing or cry it out, do a kickboxing class or go for a run…whatever it takes. Just don’t hold on to it.