SORRY to remind you, but in barely four weeks it will be Christmas Eve. Can you believe that?! I’m in a state of shock! I’ve already been asked when the decorations and the tree are going up!
Then I need to get the cards written and posted, the shopping done, the food and drink in, the presents bought and wrapped PLUS a million other things I’ve not even thought about yet!
Sounding like a bit of a humbug, I could do without it this year to be honest!
Christmas is always stressful but it feels that this Christmas – after the eight months of mayhem we’ve been through – is the toughest ever.
The worst thing about stress is that good habits can go out of the window and bad ones can march in through the door! Bad habits not only prevent you from accomplishing your goals, they can also jeopardise your health – mentally and physically – and waste your time and energy.
You may not know this, but bad habits are generally caused by two things – stress and boredom. Most of the time, bad habits like snacking, over-eating or drinking too much become a way of coping.
I’ve noticed over the years that sweet stuff and alcohol become my major stress response and I know the one thing so many of us do when we’re bored is snack!
I can feel you agreeing with me right now! If we’re watching TV we start by just having one packet of crisps, then we get the taste for them.
Those crisps often then develop into us looking for biscuits and maybe a glass of wine to go with them! How many times do you sit down in the evening with a glass of wine or a G&T for example?
Then it develops into a regular habit.
But you CAN change this – habits don’t have to be what consumes your life. You can create new and healthy ways to deal with stress and boredom which will replace your bad habits.
Here’s three tips to keep you on track so you can beat Xmas stress (and I’m doing a deep dive into this on my FB live on Thursday with more tips – join me then!)
Beat Xmas stress – tip 1
Work out what triggers your bad habit. Ask yourself these questions:
When does my bad habit happen?
Is it the same time each day?
Where am I when I do it?
We’re being triggered every day of the week and it’s hugely important to work out what sets off the behaviour, because when you identify this you can stop it – or at the very least control it.
Beat Xmas stress – tip 2
Track your habit’s favourite time and place.
Being far more aware of your habit can give you dozens of ideas for stopping it. So use your phone to note down when it happens and what you are doing.
This little exercise isn’t for you to judge yourself or feel guilty – the only thing you need to achieve is to be more aware of what’s going on.
Awareness is the first important step towards change.
Beat Xmas stress – tip 3
Replace the bad habit with a good habit.
If you eat sweet stuff when you’re stressed then it’s not a good idea to suddenly stop. That way your needs will be unfulfilled and it’s going to be hard to stick to a new behaviour or routine for very long.
Suddenly depriving yourself of something is the mistake a lot of people make – and that’s why diets can’t be sustained for long.
Instead what you should work towards is being aware of what you’re putting your mouth and then consciously changing it to something similar but not as bad for you.
In the case of chocolate – choose one with less sugar, or possibly some sweetish fruit if that works – because this way you’ll start adopting new behaviour that fulfils the same need but is healthier.
Of course, if you’re on the Slimpod programme your tastebuds and your need for sweet stuff will probably have changed already and you’ll be getting your pleasure and reward from healthier food and exercise.
But if there’s something that’s being stubborn, or there’s another habit you want to break to help you beat Xmas stress, then these three tips will be really effective.
Breaking bad habits takes time and effort but mostly perseverance. It’s that good old consistency word again.
Most people who end up breaking their habits have tried multiple times before they made it work. So you may not have success right away but that’s ok – because the rewards will be worth it in the end
To help motivate you to kick your bad habits, I’ll be doing a deep dive on all this on my Instagram page live at 7pm UK time on Thursday (November 26) and then the main public Facebook page at 7.30pm.
What habits do you want to change before Christmas? How are you planning to beat Xmas stress?
Please let me know in a comment below.