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Friday, 19 December 2014

Life: Five Life-Changing Steps to Happiness this Christmas

My usual way of getting into the Festive spirit is normally as follows: Buy and decorate tree; buy and wrap gifts; gluhwein at the German market; watch Love Actually; plan Xmas menu and become stressed beyond belief trying to figure out how I'm going to do it all!

This year however, I decided to be kinder to myself and made it my goal to remain as relaxed through December as I could. Christmas is now just under a week away and I can now happily report that I am far happier and relaxed than I was when I started. Here's what I've been doing since about late November.

1.  Say yes more.
The littlies normally go crazy at this time of year but instead of saying no to their usual requests so as to avoid the crowds, we've been doing something Christmassy every weekend. So far, we've been to the Edinburgh Christmas market, seen the RSNO christmas concert, did a Santa Run, and still have the Panto and Nutcracker to go. It's been fun spending some family time doing things that will become part of our Christmas family traditions for years to come.

2.  Get outside everyday for some exercise.
The great thing about having a dog is that I've been out walking come rain and shine. To some this might sound awful, but there is something pretty exhilarating about being outside in the driving rain. I find walking in the countryside and mountains very meditative and love having an excuse to get out every day.

3.  Daily Yoga and Meditation.
At the start of this year I made a resolution to try to meditate daily. As I mentioned in a previous blog,    I found this quite difficult until I discovered the Headspace app. I've now listened to mediation packs on anxiety and happiness and have learned a lot about my approach to life and can already see changes in my outlook. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed doing Yoga until I started the DoYouYoga 30 day Yoga Challenge with Erin Motz. Erin is an inspirational Yoga teacher and her "bad yogi" ethos has reminded me to be kind to myself. I am now on my last few days of the challenge and am resolved to carry on doing yoga daily into the new year.

4. Ask myself whether it absolutely has to be done today.
A lot of my stress is self-imposed and this Christmas season I've stopped giving myself scary daily to-do lists and instead distilled my lists to include only those that absolutely have to be done on that day. Every thing has still gotten done but it's been refreshing not having to run around like a headless chicken every day. Yes, I still have crazy days - as I mum I can't stop the occasional one - but I have also had time to enjoy the season a bit more.

5. Spend time with people you like.
Normally catching up with my friends is incredibly difficult leading up to Christmas. I prioritised ticking off my to-do lists over meeting up with people. This year I've turned that on its head and have found that making time for lunch dates and coffee catch ups has given me a boost and that a more positive mood makes that to-do list less overwhelming.

I hope you find these tips helpful.

Please drop me a line to let me know your tips too.

Have a lovely weekend.

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