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    Top 5 ways to prepare yourself for a stress free Christmas

    Top 5 ways to prepare yourself for a stress free Christmas

    Already feeling the stress and pressure of the upcoming festive season? You’re not alone! Whether it’s financial stress, family stress or the effects of this stressful year, chances are everyone you talk to right now is feeling the same!

    Look after the pennies and the pounds

    woman showing apple and bitten doughnut
    Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

    According to Medical News Today, stress often leads to impulse eating and impulse spending. It’s article on ‘reducing Christmas Stress’ suggests that readers should “Recognize how you deal with stress-related money problems. Sometimes, during tough economic moments, individuals turn to smoking, alcohol, gambling, or excessive eating to try to relieve stress. These behaviours can lead to arguments and conflicts between partners and families.”

    Sounds familiar right?

    It also addresses the importance of opening up conversations with your kids about realistic expectations regarding gifts and where you can, try and take some time out for yourself. A good article, worthy of reading.

    Control what you can control! Get your clean on!

    I’m not sure about you, but when I’m stressed I’m driven to ‘get my house in order’ – which is me in what I call ‘Tornado Mode’, physically tidying things up in my immediate area or line of sight. Same goes with your outdoor area.

    Here in New Zealand, Christmas for us is normally bathed is sunshine and humidity – or in some cases, rain and humidity: sometimes both in the same day. Fingers crossed after the stressful year that 2021 has been, Kiwi’s across the country will be spending Christmas outdoors, hopefully with family and friends. The challenge is that with being stuck at home and largely unmotivated, many of us are venturing outdoors to find that the patio, concrete or outdoor furniture are covered with moss and mould creating next level anxiety.

    My advice: control what you can control and get a good Moss and Mould Cleaner! Our sister site Guide To Better Shopping has been doing some test work with a great product called Spray & Go, where you literally attach the hose to the bottle, spray and go.

    According to our product testers, 24 hours later the moss, mould (and anxiety!) disappeared, meaning clean concrete come BBQ time, without the fear of slipping over!

    Marie Kondo taught us all that if your home or your belongings don’t bring you joy, get rid of them immediately……and I’m thinking that this also includes Moss and Mould too…..

    Sort your menu out in advance

    top view of a family praying before christmas dinner
    Photo by Nicole Michalou on Pexels.com

    You’re a grown up. You get to make your own choices – and repeat after me: The only person I need to impress is myself……This Christmas, what say you ditch the expectations of food perfection and opt for a simple menu.

    Salads are brilliant in this weather and nothing beats gorgeous fresh salmon or a twist on the Christmas Turkey with a fun Cajun Chicken Salad. Topped with popcorn it’s satisfying and fun and guaranteed NOT to leave you needing an afternoon nap.

    Many times over, my whanau have opted for a Mexican Fiesta, including Keto style Chicken Fajitas, dress ups, a Piñata and tequila shots.

    FYI: If you’re wanting a Keto Cookbook, here’s a link to a free one!

    And speaking of Keto: for anyone watching their carbs but still wanting a tipple, gin, vodka and tequila are all low in carbs when served with soda water and a dash of lime. Or you could opt for the wonderful low carb and Keto wine range from Keto Wines NZ. (FYI: Check them out. If you use my name MONIQUE in the checkout cart, you should get a discount for orders over $100. You’re welcome!)

    One of my favourite Christmas recipes is my low carb Pavlova. Layered in whipped cream and berries, it’s decadent and delicious with none of the guilt. Give it a go.

    Breathe. Sleep. Relax. Repeat.

    adult blur books close up
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    I’m not going to lie: This year has disappeared and what have we all achieved?

    I’m using this Christmas / New Year period to defrag, unplug and rest. Thanks to Covid, most of us have experienced those feelings of stress and overwhelm with many sharing with us that their ‘surge capacity has totally been depleted’. If you’re not sure what that is, give the article a read and if it resonates, consider chatting to someone about it.

    Sometimes letting go and finding your ‘zen space’ can be the hardest thing to achieve during a break, often with many noticing their immunity breaks down, as they start to unwind.

    If that sounds familiar, products like Sleep Ezi could be an option. Many of the members of our team have been diving into the world of aromatherapy and meditation, however i’m the last person who should be responsible for an oil burner and an open flame.

    Sleep Ezi literally makes getting to sleep or even relaxing so much easier due to its gorgeous aroma and powerful natural ingredients designed to help calm the mind and support a good nights sleep. Using over 14 sleep supporting natural essential oils, including lavender, clary sage, vetiver, and patchouli to help relieve stress, relax the mind and help the body prepare to sleep.

    Sleep Ezi has 3 signature products for adults: A sleep mist for spraying on your pillow, a tonic and a sleep spray. For children they also have a sleep tonic and sleep mist which are also hugely relaxing.

    It states on their website that Sleep Ezi may

    • Restore your body and mind
    • Support your immune system
    • Deal with daily stresses
    • Promote muscle repair
    • Provide the mental, emotional, and physical energy, and the focus and alertness you need to get through your day.
    • Best of all its free from phthalates, synthetic colours and fragrance, Parabens, GMO, petrolatum.

    FYI: for you peri or menopausal women like me, give it a whirl. I can’t stop raving about it.

    Make time for exercise

    man walking near body of water
    Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

    To be honest, I feel like I’m writing this reminder for myself.

    Christmas is, for most of us, a time of over-eating, over-drinking and general laziness meaning exercise can be easily overlooked.

    Diets are particularly popular in January, as are New Years resolutions, but the reality is that come week 2 of the New Year, your resolutions are out the door and you’re back on the wines with ZERO cares. (FYI: I speak from experience here…..)

    I had a good chat recently with a highly motivated friend of mine, fitness and nutrition champ, and former Masterchef NZ finalist Kelly Young. Kelly has a realistic approach to wellbeing, always reminding me that ‘life is about a more balanced approach to what’s achievable.’ And yes, that may include an occasional glass of wine.

    I love this philosophy.

    Kelly is also a busy mum, high achiever and co-owner of 9-Round Albany with partner Dave. Scrolling through her Facebook page, I also stole this post as I felt it was a great reminder for everyone right now.

    “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, here’s the tips I share:

    • Stop and belly breathe
    • Simplify your “to do list” – if you truly feel overwhelmed then first start off completing the more achievable tasks. This will create confidence and momentum to move onto the more challenging tasks
    • Be realistic (this can sometimes be hard when you’re in the thick of the chaos) with your thoughts. Ask, is this actually happening? Do I need to be thinking about this? Am I or those I love in physical danger? Bring yourself back into the present and focus on what needs to get done.
    • Exercise is one of my best forms of therapy.”

    OK. GOT IT. LOVE IT. Thanks Kel.

    It’s important to remember that while resolutions may not always stick, positive habits do, and exercise is not only a great way to reduce stress, as it burns off hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, it also helps produce mood-enhancing endorphins – which is the same feeling we get when we swipe that eftpos card or click the ‘buy now’ button on a cheeky gift for ourselves. FYI: If you get the chance to meet Kelly in real life, you’ll see a great example of this. Even in the midst of challenging times, she always has a smile on her face and projects more energy than a lighthouse. I put it down to the exercise…..and the great food of course.

    So: this Christmas / New Year, why not try going for a walk after dinner, as the fresh air and exercise will lift your mood and make you feel better. Plus you can do it alone and listen to your favourite Spotify Playlist, or if the kids are old enough to self supervise, sneak out with your significant other and call it a date. You may be amazed at how the problems of the world can be solved in just 20-30 mins of casual walking time.

    Wishing you a stress free and wonderful festive season.

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    Hi I'm Monique Bradley.

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