I’ve been a little quiet on the writing front over the last month as I’ve (not quite literally, but almost) been drowning in a sea of Slow Chocolate. Anything chocolate-related of course ramps up over Christmas. Which also means it’s a great time for me to put into practise all the things I talk about in relation to slowing down, being self-kind and even just letting myself feel a teensy bit overwhelmed from time to time, as I’m a human being not a super hero(ine)

While the festive season is amazing, it can of course also be a tad frenetic and stressful. It’s therefore a really important time to kick some of your Christmas self-care toolkit into action.

I want to share just some of the things I do myself to keep myself a bit more tiptop during the Christmas period.

 

Make time for rest

It all starts with the big S: sleep. It can be really tempting to burn the candle at both ends during December when there are so many fun and fabulous things happening. However it’s really important to prioritise sleep.

Lots of important restorative things happen to your brain and body when you sleep, and your capacity to keep going and be productive starts to drop off quite rapidly when you don’t fit in the zzzs. Of course, this doesn’t have to be completely at the expense of fun, but proactively planning in time for sleep is important to make sure you don’t burn out before the big day,

Rest is also about more than sleep: it means carving out a few moments of silence from time to time in the silly season to help you feel even just a little more refreshed.

For me, this means giving myself a quiet morning the day after a busy market, making sure I stick with my morning meditation and choosing a really good film to watch with my husband on a weekend (these moments become really precious when you often work on weekends).

 

Keep yourself nourished

Of course eating nourishing food is important for a nourished mind, but in this instance, for once, I’m actually not talking about food. Like junk food, you can also fill yourself with junk events, people and thoughts.

I make very conscious choices these days about what social things I say yes to – this is partly as a result of running a business where time is a very precious commodity, but also because as I’ve got older I’ve become much more aware of how important it is to guard my energy.

My personal suggestion is to carefully consider what you most want to give your energy to rather than scattering it willy nilly to the wind!

But also consider your thoughts… are you approaching the season with goodwill or getting caught up in unhelpful perfectionist tendencies? (This is a BIG one for me.)

If you can, try to reframe your thinking knowing that people who really care about you, care about you not what gift you’ve bought or meal you’ve made. Those extra things are nice touches, but presents are never worth more than your presence (see what I did there!).

 

Treat yourself

Yes, this is a time of giving and I’m not suggesting that you turn into Scrooge, but it’s also really important to take care of yourself so that you can take care and give love to others. When you’re drained it’s pretty hard to have much left for others (and that’s when you can snap at things just a bit too easily).

I definitely go on the basis of giving myself a few treats amongst Christmas shopping for others. This isn’t just about buying stuff either. I do love buying a few bits and bobs from makers I love and respect, but it’s also the treat of time wandering through streets filled with beautiful Christmas decorations, doing a little non-work baking, or grabbing a festive coffee with friends.

This year my husband and I have also given ourselves an early Christmas gift of a lovely rescue pup called Taz. Well, he’s not entirely a puppy as he’s 2 years old, but he definitely has some puppy-ish tendencies. He’s a beautiful addition to our Christmas celebrations and already feels part of the Food At Heart family. Of course dogs aren’t just for Christmas so expect more doggy news in 2019…

 

Make sure you plan in a few moments of Christmas self-care this December – and if all else fails treat yourself to some amazing chocolate from a really good maker and enjoy every single morsel!

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