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Charlotte Hawkins: How I Bring Joy To The Festive Season

3 MIN READ • 16th March 2021

Worried about the festive period this year? Our columnist Charlotte reveals her top tips for bringing joy to the season

Most of us will no doubt be glad to see the back of 2020… it’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? As we head into the Christmas season, the current situation means many of us may not be able to celebrate in the way we’d like. It’s been a tough year for all sorts of reasons, some have suffered loss, some ill health, and there are those who have lost jobs, and others who have been crippled under the weight of fear and anxiety.

But at Christmas, let’s try to lift our spirits whatever the circumstances, look on the bright side and make the best of what we have. The thing to cherish at this time of the year is those we love, our family and friends. We may not be able to have the big celebrations we would usually enjoy, or the stream of Christmas parties, but we can make sure we catch up with those who mean a lot to us, whether in smaller get-togethers or in the virtual world. The Christmas season is likely to be spread out this year, so make the most of having the time to reconnect, to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while, and refresh your friendships.

It’s also a time to look ahead, as we approach the new year. Here’s hoping it will be a brighter one than the one we’re leaving behind. And to help you make the most of this time, try to reclaim the magic of Christmas, and focus on what you need to help you feel better right now. Think about your health – boost your nutrition. Exercise outdoors to put a spring in your step. Try a vitamin D supplement in the absence of sunshine. And don’t forget some ‘me-time’. Schedule in time for those things that will make you feel better, whether it’s a long bath, reading a book, getting out into nature, or indulging in simply what the Dutch call ‘Niksen’ – doing nothing. Just sitting and daydreaming is good for you, believe it or not!

Here are my top tips for putting a spring in your step this Christmas season:

1. Keep active to help feel your best. If you’re working from home, make sure you take regular breaks and get outside whenever you can to clear your head. Research has found people who spend time in the garden are more likely to have better health and wellbeing than those who don’t. Head to a local park if you don’t have a garden of your own.

2. Keep hydrated – even mild dehydration can affect mood and energy levels. Track your daily intake or fill up bottles at the beginning of the day, then you know what you’re aiming for. In one study, it was shown that drinking a 500ml glass of water regularly before mealtimes helped people lose weight.

3. It’s easy to tuck ourselves away, particularly with the situation we’re all in at the moment. But make sure you regularly catch up with people, and schedule in things to look forward to. We may not have holidays planned as usual but try to make time for things that will offer some light at the end of the tunnel.

4. Don’t forget the ‘me-time’. Carve out some time for those small things that will make you feel a little bit better, or at least allow you to recharge your batteries.

5. Lastly, if all else fails, do nothing! According to the Dutch, this is the secret to managing stress and burnout. Sit and take in your surroundings, listen to music and look out of the window. Reset your mind and quite often that’s the moment when a new idea or solution will pop into your head! I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas.

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