This month we have the shortest day of the year and the Christmas period: two things which add to the normal everyday stress.

We all know that Christmas can cause us extra stress: thinking about presents and finding the extra cash for them; preparing the expected feast; and the often obligatory visiting with various family and friends – which also sometimes means travelling in bad weather. A time which was intended to be a celebration and originally a mid-winter time to relax and enjoy yourself can turn into a flurry of activity and duty and cost.

What we tend to be less aware of is the stress of our short hours of daylight. No one likes getting up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark, as far as I know. However, our bodies like it less than our minds. It disrupts our natural rhythms, because our biology is designed to work in synch with nature, not against it. So we have to force ourselves to be active, even though it’s dark, because our bodies respond to lack of daylight as downtime.

So please, be a little more kind to yourselves this month.

Simplify some of that Christmas madness

  • Agree with other grown-ups in your life to just give token gifts to each other
  • Make sure some of your Christmas break is me-time, and just relax
  • Agree to do some of your visiting relatives at a more pleasant time of year

Give your biology some allowance

  • Let yourself have lazy evenings for December
  • Sleep in at the weekend, so at least sometimes you get up when it is light
  • Top up your fuel tank with good comfort food, things to make you laugh, favourite warm clothes – you’re using up more energy than usual

Give yourself the best possible Christmas present this year – be kind to yourself for a month!

May you have a delightful and peaceful Christmas period.

With love

Di and Jo

About Jo Clarkson

Jo Clarkson is the CEO of Meta and a frequent writer of the blog.
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