Twelve Tips to Minimise Pre-Christmas Stress

08/12/2014 19:54 GMT | Updated 07/02/2015 10:59 GMT

The first week of December is behind us and Christmas is quickly approaching. We're running around trying wrap up work for the year, get all the Christmas shopping done, plan for the next year, and stay on top of all the holiday celebrations. It's a manic month and sometimes we let all the stuff we have to do get to us in the form of Pre-Christmas stress. It's time to pause, reflect and think about how you're going to get through December without reaching burnout. This is where I've got some tips to share.

Earlier this year I read Arianna Huffington's brilliant book Thrive and was totally blown away. Despite working in the happiness and wellbeing sphere with my own coaching business, the things she highlighted in her book really struck a cord with me. From sleeping to meditation to a daily tech detox, her book is full of useful tips which are going to help both you and me to get through the pre-Christmas month with a smile on our faces and with stress kicked out of the window.

Let's start with her wellbeing tips which are all about making sure that you are making the right choices for you to remain healthy and fit.

"If you're making one too many health withdrawals from your health bank account, and you're not putting enough in, you're going to face a body and mind deficit."

  1. Get 30 minutes more sleep a day than you currently do. Sleep is the only time your body and mind has a chance to recharge. Don't take that away from yourself or you'll be taking away your health.
  2. Move your body as much as you can. Walk, stretch, dance, jump around, go for jog - whatever it is, just move. Our bodies are not designed for us to stay sitting at a desk all day so make sure you're moving throughout the day as well.
  3. Meditate at least 5 minutes a day. You're teaching your brain to focus and listen to you, which means you will gain more control of your thoughts. You're also giving yourself the time to just do nothing, and to fully be present. This comes with an infinite list of health, happiness and productivity benefits.

This takes us to the wisdom tips she shared in the second part of her book which are all about getting in touch with our real selves.

"By letting go of your devices you determine the agenda for the day,

and you take back control of what you want to achieve and how."

  1. Let go of something today that you no longer need. It could be a project you're simply not committed to, or it could even be negative self-talk which works against your confidence. Whatever it is that's holding you back, let go of it.
  2. Start a gratitude list and share it with friends. Together you can celebrate all the things you appreciate in your lives.
  3. Turn off your devices at a certain hour every day. I like to call this a daily tech detox. This will help you to relax, sleep better and focus your evenings on real human interaction.

Next in line are three tips to help you reconnect with your childlike awe and wonder to help you appreciate the life and beauty around you.

"Life is a dance. It's about balancing making things happen

and letting things happen. Don't push the river that flows."

  1. Focus on your breath for 10 seconds. This will bring you into the present moment, helping you connect better with the now. You can even do this when you're feeling frustrated or annoyed as it will help you calm down.
  2. Use a joyful image for inspiration. Keep it close so you can look at it when you're in need of a smile or when you're feeling stuck.
  3. Forgive yourself for your judgements. Be kind to yourself and look at life with a new type of compassion, both towards yourself and others.

Last but not least are three tips to help you get into the spirit of giving, especially now that it's Christmas.

"Live life in a sense of abundance."

  1. Make acts of kindness a habit. Whether it's holding the door open, let someone have your seat on the train, or buying the person behind you in the queue their coffee, make it a habit to surprise people with small gestures.
  2. Make a new personal connection. Make a new friend out of a stranger you'd usually not interact with. Broaden your horizons and be open to new people.
  3. Use your skills to help someone. Become a go-giver and help others however you can when you can.

Are you feeling inspired yet? Be sure to grab a copy of Thrive by Arianna Huffington if you want to truly master these 12 tips - and I definitely recommend that you do! They've been incredibly helpful in my work and life too, and I am very grateful for the book she put together. I will be reminding myself of these tips daily to make sure I stay on track with my wellbeing in the Pre-Christmas season - and long after it!

Susanna Halonen, also known as the Happyologist®, is a life coach and writer based in London, England. She is also the author of Screw Finding Your Passion: It's Within You, Let's Unlock It, which debunks the myth that you should follow one passion and instead shows how you can live your whole life with passion.