Our lovely client, Amber, shares her top tips for keeping your recovery on track over the festive period…
You do not need to take part in everything and interact with everyone. Think about what you can do and what you can’t, and give yourself permission to say no to things you do not want to do.
Practise daily self-care
What do you enjoy doing in your normal daily routine? Whether that’s having your morning coffee alone in your room, ensuring you get outside to connect with nature, listening to a podcast, having a long bath… prioritise behaviours that make you feel grounded and content. Ensure you carry on doing these things.
For me, it is essential to wake every morning and take a hot shower, do my make up and hair, and wear an outfit I feel good in. This puts me in a positive headspace for the day ahead. I find that I am often tempted to sit in my pyjamas and not shower for the Christmas period – although for me, this is not self-care, and leads to a lack of confidence and low mood.
I also will always wrap up warm and take a walk after lunch, even a very short walk helps me connect with nature, feel distracted from any discomfort after eating and signifies the end of the meal for me. I return to the house ready to sit on the sofa and interact with my family or watch a good film!
Have a plan for when you feel overwhelmed
Preparing for a moment of anxiety or panic can help you to react in a more measured and useful way. If there is someone you can speak too about this, then preparing a plan together can be really worthwhile and comforting.
In general, quickly removing myself from an overwhelming situation is my priority. I have a statement ready such as; ‘I am just going to wash my face then come back’ or, ‘I feel really hot and stuffy, I am going for a short walk’.
Once you’ve removed yourself from the overwhelming scenario, practise mindful breathing, listen to calming music or a meditation in your room or whilst on a walk. People are normally concerned with themselves, so take your time! Come back when you are ready and feel able.
Plan a routine
For me, one of the most challenging parts of Christmas is the complete lack of routine. At my house, no one works over the Christmas period, no one sets alarms, no one works to a strict timetable! I appreciate everyone wants to relax, but I also ask my family to appreciate taht I need some routine, especially in regards to food.
I ask my family to adhere to agreed meal times, and also to let me know what food is going to be prepared when, and then I plan my food. This gives me a sense of calm and makes the situation feel less chaotic for me.
Be mindful that plans need flexibility, especially over Christmas – this cannot be avoided! I find this challenging, but constantly remind myself of the need to be flexible, and that ultimately this will only last a few days and is not a permanent situation.