5 tips for a restful Christmas

Nicola Jane Hobbs - Dec.14.22

We've reached out to Reflex Ambassador Nicola Jane Hobbs, Eating and Exercise Psychologist who specialises in psychoeducation for fitness pros, to get her top five tips for a restful Christmas... 

Christmas is full of fun, joy and delicious food – but it can also be full of stress too!

Late night entertaining, lack of routine and over-excited kids can disrupt our sleep, dysregulate our nervous systems and get in the way of us enjoying the festive season.

Here are five tips to help you have a restful Christmas:

1. Do one thing at a time

When we’re multitasking what we’re actually doing is ‘switchtasking’. Our brains are designed to focus on one task at a time so when we’re rapidly switching between different tasks, we become less productive and more stressed.

Cooking dinner, doing the washing and arranging Christmas plans with family all at the same time might feel like we’re being efficient, but we’re more likely to make mistakes – overcooking the broccoli, putting a red sock in with the white sheets, being snappy with our mum...

Plus research has found that multitasking actually makes things take around 40% more time to complete!

2. Savouring

The festive season can be so busy that it rushes by in a blur. Before we know it, it’s over and we don’t feel we’ve had a chance to fully enjoy any of it.

Savouring is a way we can begin to fully experience the pleasure of the present moment and deepen positive emotions like joy, love and delight.

We can savour all different types of experiences: The lights on the Christmas tree, a delicious chocolate, a festive song, watching the kids rip open their presents on Christmas morning.

By immersing ourselves in these pleasurable experiences, we are sending signals of safety to our nervous systems, allowing our stress responses to ‘switch off’ so, as well as allowing us to rest, we can experience feelings of awe, gratitude and delight.

3. Listen to soothing music 
Christmas songs are great in small doses but sometimes we need something a little more gentle to help us relax.

Listening to a couple of minutes of soothing music while we’re getting ready in the morning or when we get home from work is a simple and beautiful way to shift our nervous systems out of a state of fight-or-flight and towards calm-and-connection.
There are lots of calming playlists you can find on Spotify or you can create a playlist of your favourite melodies to soothe you
4. Legs up the wall pose

The festive season is full of friends and socialising which can mean things like yoga and meditation slip off the priority list (which is totally okay!).

We might not have time to make it to a yoga studio for a couple of weeks but we can still get the calming benefits of our practice by spending a couple of minutes with our legs up the wall.

Simply sit as close to the wall as you can and swing your legs around so you’re lying with your hips at about a 90 degree angle with your heels resting against the wall

5. Dance in the kitchen

Christmas is the perfect time to dance more. And in doing so, we’re using up excess stress hormones, releasing muscular tension and moving our bodies back to a state of rest and recovery.

As well as discharging excess stress from your mind-body systems, dancing also releases endorphins and feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin as well as suppressing stress hormones such as cortisol to help you feel more relaxed.

Find the points in this blog useful? Check out some other topics by Nicola: 
10 Tips to beat January Blues 
Rest is not a reward: 5 ways to slow down
Or connect with Nicola on Instagram - @nicolajanehobbs
There are also lots of useful blogs in the Wellbeing section of the locker.