I was sitting on the couch the night before Christmas feeling wrecked! It’s been a really tough year this year and family responsibilities at this time of year are off the scale and often the straw that breaks the camels back! I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself but I wasn’t being terribly proactive to move the fatigue on.
It was pouring with rain. Probably the heaviest we have seen in a long time and I felt it was time to take the dogs for a walk. Without a rain coat and my old shoes, the dogs and I set out to the park. They weren’t in the slightest bit bothered and given I love walking in heavy rain, I wasn’t either. We had the park to ourselves (no one else crazy enough to take on the elements) and it was exhilarating. The huge culvert that runs the length of the park was at it’s capacity and flowing so fast, you could imagine white water rafting on it.
Going for that walk reminded me how much I love brutal weather and the very real health benefits that nature has – and it prompted me to write this post as a reminder to others that are struggling with tiredness or any other brain fog conditions that happen to most of us this time of year.
1. Get Back to Nature
It doesn’t have to be wild weather to re-invigorate you (especially if that’s not your thing) but most people have access to a park with trees. One of my favourite things to do in nature is to walk in New Zealand’s native bush. Find somewhere you love and take regular walks or runs. One book I read suggested sitting at the base of the tree and just being mindful is a good way to get back to nature. You don’t have to incorporate the exercise if you don’t want to.
Any exercise works but I personally find walking really beneficial but that is probably because I am unfit. According to many specialists, Yoga is one of the better forms of exercise to steady the mind and bring more calming thoughts and destress. I plan to start incorporating some form of Yoga practice into my day in the New Year for exactly this reason.
3. Have a Nap
This has never really been on my list of things to do and to be honest, I have been known to look down my nose at people that take naps. I have kind of looked on it as a bit of a weakness – I know. Judgemental. But, I am re-evaluating after listening to the Sleep Doctor’s masterclass with Vishen through Mindvalley. He says that taking a nap is one of the most proactive things we can do to aid sleep and in my view destress. I have had a couple of afternoon naps since being on holiday and must admit to feeling more refreshed afterwards. I think the trick is to time it. Apparently, studies show that 26 minutes I the optimum amount of time to day snooze.
This is probably an obvious one but I don’t actually know that many people that meditate – even though it is common knowledge that meditation has calming and elevating affects. Meditation certainly helps when incorporated into your daily routine. I would hate to think how chaotic my life would be without it.
Try not to let the “I’m too busy” thoughts get the better of you. Taking time to meditate will actually make your day more productive. Not less. It’s a fantastic way to destress and have some me time.
5. Assess Your Diet
A few years ago (and I hope I don’t get done for slander) I ate a KFC burger and within minutes, I felt my energy levels draining. I haven’t eaten one since. Doubters will probably say that it’s my imagination but I know in myself it was the burger. Low energy foods lead to more low energy foods. We all know the foods that keep us in a low vibe. I’m not saying stop everything because who’s going to say no to pavlova or cheesecake this time of year – but just be conscious. A good book to re-evaluate your eating habits is Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger.
There is a heap of lovely and healthy recipes in this book that are easy to make and tasty. I have also subscribed to their newsletter and get plenty of new recipes sent to my inbox. This is a lifestyle choice rather than a diet. It’s taking me a bit of time to implement but it feels worth it so far.
6. Say NO!
If you’re anything like me, you are the one who willingly helps others and therefore struggles to say no when others need help. Sometimes, you have to be kind to yourself first and say no so that you have a bit of time up your sleave for some personal self care. It’s worth it and there are plenty of ways to say no without hurting anyone’s feelings.
And, it’s not just about saying no to helping others. In the last week, I have taken an email holiday. Instead of stressing about my overwhelming inbox, I have just switched off. Not checking emails on a daily basis has been awesome. Not only that, when I do check my emails – I don’t read a lot of them. I will scan the headings and delete the ones that are unimportant. You could also file some of the ‘to do’ emails in a ‘post holiday’ file for you to pick up once you have had a chance to relax and recuperate.
“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy;
but not in a way most people understand.
I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.
Sometimes, this is my busy –
and I will not apologize for it.”
7. Do Something Different
Instead of just hanging around the house, go exploring. It doesn’t have to be expensive. My partner and I spent last Christmas exploring areas of Auckland we never go to and it was great. It could even be as simple as taking a different route to somewhere you travel to a lot. It has surprising positive impacts on your mindset and makes the day to day things that we have to do a little less mundane. It also helps to get you out of your own head.
8. Read a Book
When I read a book, it’s about the only time that I put my feet up and relax. Reading is relaxing for me and again, it helps to get me out of my own head. As my Dad says, when you have a good book – you are never bored. Reading is something that you simply can’t do in a stressful way – if you enjoy reading.
9. Deep Breathing
This works! Not only is deep breathing a proven technique for helping with anxiety, it most certainly resets your brain long enough to change the course of any negative thoughts and elevate your mood. The beauty of deep breathing is that it is indistinct enough to be done anywhere, and it works quickly. There are heaps of techniques on line. Try and experiment with a few and see which ones you like best.
10. Get a Massage
Not one of those bloody sports massages. I had one of those a few years ago – never again. It was like paying for the dentist. A real pain. I could not believe that I thought all massages were created equal. $150 and an hour and a half of sheer pain. Not what the doctor ordered!
It’s lovely to spoil yourself with a kind, relaxing, essential oil laden massage. A soak in the bath works pretty well too.