The end of the year is fast approaching which means one thing, the ‘C’ word is around the corner. Yes, Christmas is a couple of weeks away and it is a time of year that can create mixed emotions for many. It may be a time that brings great joy, an opportunity for family and friends to come together, exchange gifts, eat, drink, and be merry. For some it may make their blood boil, as the stress increases with the thought of tackling the shops and figuring out a way to cover the costs. And for others, it can be a time of reflection and even sadness, perhaps remembering those who are no longer here, and with the hype going on all around, loneliness can creep in. Wherever you are on the festive scale, this week we wanted to share some strategies you can use to help you stay mentally and physically well over the next few weeks, and of course they can be taken into the new year and beyond. Here are 5 things you can do to take care of you this season: 1. Focus on gratitude During stressful times it can be difficult to see the good around. In fact, your brain becomes primed to look for danger, and is more likely to focus on the negative as a protective mechanism to keep you safe. Sadly this often doesn’t serve us, and can heighten the feelings of stress and anxiety. Which is where gratitude comes in. Did you know that gratitude is the antidote to anxiety? They can’t co-exist together. So, if you are feeling low or anxious, try and focus on 3 things you are grateful for, along with the reasons why. We would recommend thinking about it first thing in the morning, and then reminding yourself throughout the day. Think it to yourself, write it down, or say it out loud, whatever works for you. If practiced daily, it can have a profound effect on how you feel. 2. Keep moving Moving your body is wonderful for not only your physical health, but your mental health too, allowing you to let go of the festive tension. Another bonus of exercise is that it triggers the release of your feel-good hormones which are called endorphins, and utilises cortisol, your stress hormone. Therefore, try and factor in some intentional movement each day, and if you can get some daylight and fresh air in the process, it will only be a bonus for your wellbeing. 3. Avoid comparison Focusing on what others are doing around you and comparing your life to theirs can bring all sorts of feelings. From guilt, to not feeling good enough, to anxiety. Unfortunately, the use of phones and social media can exacerbate this. So, if you find yourself scrolling aimlessly on your phone over the next few weeks, try and catch yourself. Put your phone down and focus on what is around you, along with your priorities. We are all on our own unique journey of life, and often what is portrayed in the media is not quite the reality. 4. Add in the good stuff The temptation to indulge is everywhere, with sweet treats, rich foods, and fizzy drinks on every aisle. We are not saying avoid this completely, we want you to enjoy and sample some of your favourite goodies, but this is a gentle reminder to factor in the good stuff too! Be sure to add fresh vegetables and nutritious foods into each meal so that your body continues to get the nourishment it requires. This will help you stay physically and mentally strong, keeping your energy levels up and mind clear. 5. Ask for help and connect with others If you find this time of year a challenge, have you considered sharing how you feel with someone else, or asking for help if you need it? We know this is not always easy, it takes courage to be vulnerable and reach out, but the benefits of doing so will outweigh the momentary awkwardness. If you don’t have friends or family around, how about joining a local community group, or even volunteering for a charity? Connection is something we all need and being around others can help to elevate mood and bring a sense of purpose to the day. We hope this information is helpful, and don’t forget, we are always here to offer a listening ear, along with adding some chiropractic joy to your days over the upcoming weeks. So be sure to reach out if you need anything, and if you don’t have your end of year adjustment in the diary, don’t worry, there is still time to get in touch to arrange! The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.