The festive season has crept around once more. A time of indulgence, merriment and fun for many, a stressful period for others. It can be challenging as December rolls around, to fit in all the catch ups and get togethers associated with this time of the year. Our usual habits and routines are often disrupted, leaving us feeling somewhat unsettled without the rigour of day-to-day life.

At such a busy time, how do you keep your headspace? How do you make time for some self-care so that you go back to work in January feeling relaxed and like you’ve actually had a holiday?

The socialising which comes hand in hand with the Christmas period can be exhausting, and especially for introverts, it can be a period where you just want to escape and find a little ‘me time’. It’s important to make the time to do this, to say no to the odd plan and make time instead for yourself and doing the things that make you feel good. Many of us head into the festive break feeling overloaded, desperately in need of some time out to relax and recharge. In amongst the socialising and festivities, being aware of your own needs is critical to arriving back at work raring to go, energetic and excited for the new year.

Whatever your goals, setting time each day to work on achieving them during the Christmas break, will help set habits, which run far deeper than the age old ‘New Year’s resolution’. Focus on what’s important to you, whether it’s completing a course you’ve been wanting to do for ages, getting fit or spending more time with those you love. Mindfully take the time to nurture yourself, to escape from the physical and mental stress of being in a constant stress response.

Stepping away from this fight or flight response, while you have a chance to enjoy a slower pace of life can help remove frustrating or nasty physical symptoms of stress such as high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and low moods. Relaxing, through doing what you enjoy has the opposite effect to the stress response on your body, even if done just for a short period each day. Improving your wellbeing will help you to better focus when you return to work, to have clarity on your goals, needs and wants and to become more productive at work.

Set aside just a half hour each day during the break to do something for you. Aside from getting involved in activities which bring you joy, be aware of your surroundings. Get outside in nature, take a walk and appreciate your beautiful surroundings. Download a meditation app and before you get up, complete a short 5-minute guided meditation to help reset your frame of mind. Appreciate what you have, not what you don’t have. Mindfulness can be found in so many small pockets of time and in so many actions we perform daily. Allowing yourself the time and opportunity to create some much-needed space, will transform your enjoyment of your holiday and of your return to work.