At this time of year we can sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by demands on our time and energy. Even if you’re not trying to live up to self-imposed expectations of making perfect home-made Christmas cards (no way) and home-cooked Christmas pud or cake (guilty!), there are huge lists of things that “have to be done by Christmas” – at work and at home.
The kids have all sorts of extra seasonal school events and performances to attend; the dreaded Christmas shopping won’t do itself; and friends will insist of throwing parties or inviting your out for Christmas drinks! It’s tempting to say, “Bah humbug”” to the lot of it. But before I do, here are my top tips for beating the December frazzled feeling in 10 minutes or less:
1. Go for a walk round the block: if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a change of scenery and some fresh air can shift your perspective . Go on – you can spare 10 minutes!
2. Do a 10-minute yoga session: you really can spare 10 minutes – and that’s all it takes to de-stress and find some calm. This new album has seven 10-minute sessions to choose from. Available as a download or CD here.
3. Shut out the world: Put your headphones on with a favourite piece of music and close your eyes.
4. Do something physical – with attention: knit, stroke your pet, wipe down the kitchen, sweep some leaves, play piano. Whatever it is, pay close attention to the physical sensation of what you are doing for 10 minutes.
5. Phone a friend: they’re probably in the same boat. So share a moan – or a laugh about it.
6. Do a good turn: helping someone else makes us feel good. So offer to make colleagues a cup of tea; donate clothing or money to your local homeless or elderly charity. Or ask a friend if they need any help – I’m always grateful for offers of picking up kids from school!
7. Meditate. It’s sooooo good for us, not only helping us feel calm, but actually building our brains’ grey matter. Put a timer on for 10 minutes and try this simple technique: sitting comfortably on a chair, count each exhalation from 1-10. When you reach 10 start again. That’s it. Your mind will wander, but just keep coming back to the breath.Count your breath. Or try the Headspace meditation app.
8. Feast your senses on nature: you don’t have to live in the countryside (although lovely if you do); there’s nature everywhere if you look: in your garden or park, on your balcony or out of your window. Just stand and stare at trees, ground, leaves, insects, sky, clouds…
9. Get a massage: a great way to get out of your thoughts (they tyrants!) and into your body. Ask a friend to swap a 10-min head, foot or hand massage.
10. Do a 10-minute yoga session:
I know I’ve already mentioned this, it’s such a good way to press the re-set button when your day seems to be spiralling out of control. Seven 10-minute yoga sessions to choose from here.