‘Tis the Season to be Balanced

Christmas can be a magnificent time of the year, friends, parties, holidays, festive cheer and a few drinks – what more could you ask for? The saying that you can get too much of a good thing can ring true if we’re not careful about how we manage the good things and our schedules in the coming weeks. Over cooking it in the social elements of the Christmas season often comes at the expense of the activities that keep us balanced in life – exercise, sleep, alone time, weekly routines and being outdoors. When life balance goes missing for some people Christmas can become a time associated with loneliness, family strife, burnout and sickness.

Why our immune system crashes?
We’ve all had it, the busier we get the more we hinge our expectations on how we’ll feel when the busy time is over. At this time of year we look forward to a few days off and maybe being able to have a few mornings where we don’t have to get up so early. Unfortunately by the time we earn a few days off, our immune system often crashes leaving us less able to enjoy the celebrations. Colds, flu and bugs are ready and waiting for us to drop our guard and as soon as we become tired, washed out or stagnant they take hold.

Protecting our immune system
In times of busy-ness it is essential to counter balance the strains that we are under with positive inputs. Quality sleep is one of, if not the most powerful boosters to our immune system. Scheduling a power nap before we go for Christmas drinks can really set you off on the right foot – and enable you to enjoy the night better. If there isn’t time to sleep try wedging a 5-10 minute meditation or focused breathing session. If you find it hard to get personal space this can be done on the tube, in the back of the taxi or toilet cubicle if needs be. Nutritional supplements, especially vitamin C, can also support your immune system in weathering the storm. Plan to start taking vitamin C before or during a busy period as you’re looking to prevent ill health - taking vitamins after a cold takes hold can help speed up recovery but prevention is more powerful.

Scheduling your week in advance
Perspective can be a valuable tool and taking a few minutes to plan your work and social calendar in advance will pay dividends. Prioritising the things you want to do, managing or reducing the things you have to do, protecting the actions and routines that give most to you, can all be achieved. You can still exercise in busy times by being flexible and by forward planning. A brisk walk or jog along the footpath may substitute for your usual spinning class or gym workout that you don’t have time for and can keep you feeling fresh. Massage can be a powerful way to keep balance too. Many of the party food and alcohol toxins that stagnate us can get flushed out of our system after a deep tissue massage. We usually find that people sleep better after a massage too which helps to boost the immune system. Scheduling an hour of me time also increases perspective and seems to put us on a stronger footing.

Driving home for Christmas
Travelling at Christmas is inevitable for most people who reside in Chiswick or London. We fly, drive, ferry to and train from relatives and in-laws for Christmas, Boxing day and New Years without fail. Traffic, airport congestion and storms are a common memory of travelling this time of the year and the earlier we set out, the longer it seems to take. So what can we do about travel? It’s difficult but sometimes the wisest thing to do is to be flexible on dates. It’s madness for the whole population to travel on the same day. The pressure can outweigh the enjoyment of seeing family and spending time with loved ones. Consider talking family into moving your family get together or dinner to a day other than Christmas day so you can spend a day or two with them without having to travel immediately to the in-laws for Boxing day. That way you can choose to travel at quieter times and enjoy the presence of your loved ones.

Airport madness
Some of you have escaped the obligation to travel to family for Christmas and now have the freedom to holiday instead. Whether it’s a beach or ski slope destination it usually involves luggage, airports, early/late flights, strange beds and pillows. Even travelling somewhere you want to go stresses the mind and body a little so taking a few steps to mitigate these effects can make the experience all the more enjoyable. Schedule a massage whilst you’re there and after your return to re-balance your body from hauling bags, airplane seats and strange mattresses. If you have an early flight maybe an airport hotel could be worth the investment to enable you to get extra hours sleep? Plan your return flight so that you can have an afternoon to settle back in, do laundry, prepare and start your work week on a high and carrying the benefits of your holiday forward rather than the tiredness of travel and sudden busy-ness of work.

However you spend Christmas this year and where ever you go or stay, we at The Massage Centre wish you a safe, enjoyable and festive time. We are passionate about massage and your health and we will endeavour to support you in your life’s quests in the coming year. If you can simplify your schedule over the coming weeks and use the extra perspective to enjoy a balanced and healthy Christmas, we will be over joyed. We also understand that it isn’t always easy or possible to take a step back. If you need a boost or a helping pair of hands, give us a call and a massage may be all you need to put back in what a busy life takes out.
Season’s greetings.
Fran


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