Relax, recharge, review, enjoy the holiday season and set yourself up for healthy living success in the New Year with these three simple strategies.
1. Allow yourself a complete break from work
You can decide how long this break should be but it must happen.
Avoid the temptation to approach the holidays with the mindset that you'll take time off but check in with work occasionally.
Even if it's just for a couple of days, set up a specific time frame when you'll be completely work free.
If you don't the worst case scenario is that you'll open the flood gates on work by 'just quickly checking one thing' and end up getting sucked into lots of unnecessary issues.
Even if your plan is to 'just dip in and dip out again', shifting out of the mental space of recharge and recovery and back into professional mode might mean that come January you end up feeling as though you had no break at all.
Working at half pace also means recovering at half pace and you will regret this when things ramp up again after the festive period.
If you need additional motivation to persuade yourself to remain outside of work mode, remember that just because you're not at your laptop, on a call or on Zoom doesn't mean that you're slacking.
Taking a break, doing something different and attending to the balance in your life allows you to tap into different parts of your brain, see things differently, boost your mental and physical resources and approach issues with new insights.
Have faith that when you have variety in your life you'll have enhanced creativity and inspiration.
One other thing to bear in mind here...
A regular working routine that leaves you feeling as though you need to recover raises some questions about the sustainability of what you do.
This might sound ominous but don't worry because once you recognise this might be a factor for you, the next thing you can do is identify some targeted adjustments to how you run your routine that will pay dividends across coming months.
The key thing is that you need to allow yourself some time and space doing something different to recognise the specific changes you'd like to make and how you'll implement these.
2. Play the long game
Lots of people feel frustrated that they feel the same way each December. Tired and in need of a rest. And if they feel this every year, it gets worse and can really sap your energy and motivation. 'I really hope next year will be better', they say.
Well, we say, don’t hope.
Establish the small changes you can make during this holiday season that will ensure you feel in much better shape by the time next Christmas rolls around.
Changes could be as simple as drinking one more glass of water each day, getting to bed 10-minutes earlier each night, one extra 20-minute workout per week, one less coffee per day or planning (and protecting) a slightly improved work-life balance across the year.
But make no mistake.
These small changes will make a massive difference to how you feel this time next year provided you are consistent with them.
And while we're on the subject of how small steps add up, whatever you do...
3. DO NOT PLAN FOR A NEW YEAR START DATE FOR YOUR HEALTHY LIVING PLAN!
By all means you can review and update your plan and check your goals and motivation in preparation for January, but avoid creating a January start date for healthy living. If you do, chances are that you will throw caution to the wind in the meantime, park your exercise, eat and drink everything in sight and compromise your sleep routine for the next few days or weeks.
All of which will make January mentally and physically more demanding.
Don't wait, get proactive today!
Focus on small, positive healthy living wins for each day during December, and January will feel much less daunting.
Choose your mindset carefully
We're not saying don't have fun this Christmas but a simple shift in mindset away from 'don't worry, I can sort this out in January' and towards 'I'm going to enjoy the festive season but without the risk of future guilt, frustration and the prospect of a huge tasks to get things back on track' can be liberating and hugely rewarding.