If you are anything like me, the thought that Christmas is less than a month away will bring both the welcome promise of festive fun and light heartedness with a vague sense of dread at the prospect that a) yes, another year did just pass that quickly, and b) no, there is no way I will get all the relevant shopping done in that amount of time.
It is around about now that one has to think that Christmas comes at rather a good time to be frank; it's cold, it's grey, and it's at the point where we could all do with a little tinsel and a few fairy lights to brighten up the very dark evenings (and afternoons for that matter) before ploughing our way through January.
For children, the Autumn term is the longest, so by the time their holidays come up the poor little things are completely wiped out, and goodness knows that if they are knackered, so are the rest of us. The danger however, is that for all the fun and frills of this time of year, it is in grave danger of being made into quite a stressful affair - the finances, the number of things we find ourselves needing to do and never with quite enough time (despite being the same day every year, there is always that sense of 'eek! Christmas already!?') - all of which is a bit of a shame because I think somewhere in all of us is the desire to relive Christmas each year as if we were seven years old.
So, here's some of the things I have learned from the people who are wiser than me (spa therapists) and always revert to in order to make me (and hopefully you) have a happy Christmas ...
Consider Your Detox Before Christmas ... January is usually the time when people consider going on a Detox to purge all the extravagance of the month before. However, while this is all very worthwhile, the wonderful Naturopath from Lifehouse Spa and Hotel suggests a cleanse before the party season really kicks in to help the body to cope. The details are here on our blog, The Hot Tub, along with a pre-cleanse guide, which is supremely helpful because feeling good from the inside-out is always a good way to start!
Stay Hydrated ... This is the basic mantra of any spa therapist, but in truth I both function and feel better when I have had enough water to drink. It has the added bonus of being extremely important for skin as well, as dry skin can lead to more spots and is generally uncomfortable anyway. The body detoxes at night, so it is especially important to drink enough during the day to allow it to do that properly. There is more advice on it from Marriott Hanbury Manor along with other skincare tips, but suffice to say, if you are looking for easy ways to feel a little better at this time of year, water is a comparatively simple one to fit in, and I highly recommend it.
Get Outside ... Admittedly the cold weather is making it less than inviting to go outside, and a more appealing option is to stay firmly curled up on the sofa, but personally I always feel better after a walk with my dogs. Aside from the exercise benefits (stretching out those legs that have been tucked under the desk all day) it also really helps me think ... particularly if I can get out amongst the trees and fields, which according to naturopath, Louise Westra, at Gleneagles is extremely important, particularly as we are typically separated from the great outdoors for most of the working week.
Treat Yourself As Well As Your Loved Ones ... However busy you are, however much shopping you have left to do, turkeys to cook, parties to attend, and stockings to fill, remember to take a little time for yourself. You don't need to feel guilty about it, it's fundamental to our wellbeing - anything from a bubble bath with a glass of wine (a personal favourite) to a massage. As part of our first #bekindtoyou Women's Wellness Week this year we asked lots of women to give their tips on one thing to do each week of the year to be kind to themselves - and they are all listed in our downloadable #bekindtoyou Guide, along with a few other special recipes, style guides, and bits and pieces ... in case you need a little inspiration or just some light reading in that bubble bath!
So that's my advice anyway, and I will try my level best to stick to it all - children, turkeys, shopping, work and all.
Whatever works for you, and however you're spending your Christmas, the team at Spabreaks.com and I wish you a very happy one indeed, and a wonderful, healthy 2014 as well!