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Sian Thomas

Wellbeing: the Astutis Guide to Health and Wellbeing this Christmas

Read our 8 steps for a stress free Christmas!

December 2016

As we’ve been putting the ‘health’ back into health and safety in the Astutis offices in recent months, we thought we’d take a look at wellbeing in the run up to Christmas 2016 and offer a few tips to make 'light-work' of this festive season.

With families to entertain, gifts to buy, the ‘big food shop’ to schedule, gatherings to attend and meals to plan, the run-up to the Christmas break can be a traditionally stressful time for many folk - with the addition of plenty of obstacles to clean living stretching ahead and into the New Year. So, instead of getting overwhelmed and exhausted, leading to a ‘burnt-out’ Christmas day (and we’re not talking about the Turkey), take a look at our useful guide ‘8 steps to a Stress Free Christmas’ and avoid falling victim to accidents around the home or workplace, illness or stress this year.

8 Steps to a Stress Free Christmas

Pull on your Christmas sweater, don your Santa hat and follow our steps to a Happy Christmas:

1. Plan ahead

It takes Santa 364 days….although we appreciate this might be overkill for us mere mortals! The best-laid plans may not always go according to plan, however planning and organising makes for peace of mind so make sure everything is organised: write lists, plan timings…translating plans from paper to practice then becomes an easier task. Leaving things to the last-minute will always result in stress and anxiety so don’t fall victim to failing to follow number one on our list!

2. Clear your desk

Don’t spend the Christmas break worried about things at the office. Clear up important tasks and tie up loose ends on projects before Christmas Eve. Make sure your out-of-office replies and voicemails are set - most of your clients and suppliers will be on their Christmas break too. Go 'cold Turkey' (pardon the pun!) – spend the last day or two with no emails, no internet access and no mobile devices...we managed in the eighties!

3. Share the jobs – sharing’s caring!

Whether at work or home, you shouldn’t expect to do everything, and others shouldn’t expect that of you , so don’t forget to delegate. If you know your strengths and are able to recognise where others can help, it is far easier to say “no” to some things, and admit that it’s possible to ask for help. The bottom line is, people like helping out – especially in the season of goodwill, so recognise that you can’t do it all and you’ll be fine!

4. Take time out - it's not selfish

Take time out - it's not selfishTraditionally burnt-out by Christmas morning? Make the most out of the festive season by letting yourself enjoy the atmosphere while taking time to rest and recover: lie-in, enjoy a night in rather than partying, or stop during the day to just sit quietly. Simple breathing exercises can also help. Ensuring you get enough rest time will mean you are more able to enjoy the main event.

5. Eat Well and Drink Sensibly – all the sherry and mince pies haven’t helped Santa’s waistline!

Although the festive period is often associated with over-indulgence (on the food and alcohol front) it’s important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking to excess can sometimes cause low mood and heighten your anxiety. Eating the wrong foods, and over-indulging can also impact our mood. Even if you think it’s normal to over-indulge at Christmas (and many do), it’s worth being mindful of how this can impact on you.

6. Focus on you – a bit of ‘me-time' is never ill-spent

Focus on you – a bit of ‘me-time' is never ill-spent

While spending so much time thinking of others at this time of year, we can neglect to look after ourselves. So set aside some time to treat yourself: an early night, a hot bath or just some quiet time alone. Why book that spa day in January when you could really use it now? Fix that game of golf with pals….weather permitting! With daylight hours limited, get outside when you can. Our vitamin D intake is low at this time of the year, so if the sun happens to be shining, make the most of it! Get out in nature - a good walk will help to energise the body and lift the mind.

7. Keep festively fit – it’ll make the New Year’s resolutions a tad easier!

While many of us might consider exercise to be on January’s ‘to-do’ list, we also know that exercise is good for both our mental and physical health. So, with everything else going on, don’t let exercise take a back-seat during a busy time like Christmas. Many studies have shown that even light exercise can have a positive impact on our moods, both aiding relaxation and also giving us more energy by releasing endorphins. So don’t put it off ‘til the New Year, get the most out of your exercise routine now!

8. Stay accident- free

Stay accident- free

 Let common-sense prevail despite your busy schedule – as the old adage goes…'more haste, less speed'. Avoid accidents by slowing down, not trying to do too many things at once and not cutting corners with kitchen safety, heights or home electronics – at home or at work. Christmas can be a time of increased hours and workloads for many businesses, particularly in the retail sector. Make sure you and your staff are up-to-date with manual handling training while processing big orders, be vigilant for wet or snowy shop floors and keep an eye on icy pavements or car parks. Your family won’t thank you for having to fit in a hospital visit on Christmas Day!

All said and done, it is Christmas, time of goodwill and cheer, and while we don’t want to be 'party-poopers' or 'kill-joys', we’d say that age-old advice of ‘everything in moderation’ is not a bad rule of thumb to follow!

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