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Stay calm this festive season

Thursday, 16 November 2017 10:41:16 Europe/London

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We're thrilled to have Sam Reynolds of 'Samspaces - Safe Space After Cancer' guest blogging for us this month.  Sam has a wealth of knowledge and experience on how to nurture and pace ourselves through the festive season.  Read on for her easy tips on how to maintain your equilibrium and enjoy the festive fun.

This time of year can be a tricky one for anyone recovering from illness or coming through a tough time. There is a lot of pressure to socialise, to spend money and to eat and drink and after a time of nurturing ourselves and trying to regain some balance between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health, it can threaten to throw it all out the window!

The Samspaces community are constantly looking at ways of helping our wellbeing post cancer on holistic, practical and emotional levels and this year, we have explored so many different areas that can help us nurture ourselves. So now is a good time to put them into practice!

I love Christmas in our house but it is nuts. We entertain a lot and I organise the village crib service so it is full on! The list below are the things I have tried and tested, that have brought me some relief and a greater sense of wellbeing when I could be on my knees! Try some or one, but here is a list of tips for staying calm and serene in the Christmas rush.


1 Daily self care - no matter how busy, find at least ten minutes for yourself; walk the dog, take a bath, watch you favourite film, curl up with a book under your favourite blanket. It can be helpful to do this first thing in the morning or last thing in the day, but whenever you choose, cherish that precious time for you.

view of country path in the woods

2 Be organised. Plan ahead and dont leave anything to the last minute. Even if it means internet shopping and Sainsburys online!

3 Breathe. Ten mins meditation can really help us focus on grounding ourselves and getting out of our heads.

Get outside as often as you can and drink in the daylight, even if its raining, natural light can really help our feel good hormones.

5 Treat yourself; book in to get your nails done, have some reflexology or a massage or take yourself shopping for a new outfit. It is Christmas after all!

6 Organise a girls night or festive coffee morning so you can take the opportunity to hang out with your girl friends and chat about girly stuff and relax a bit with your besties.

Decorate your house slowly. Take your time and enjoy the process. Make it a family event so rather than having it as another thing to do on your list, you make it fun and an all inclusive annual event! Put on the xmas music, heat up some hot chocolate and deck the halls!

8 If you are feeling stressed and not sleeping, try this turmeric milk drink. It is literally a knock out; 

9 If you are feeling tired, throw some yoga moves. The app Do What Feels Good is amazing and has yoga practices from 5 minutes to an hour themed around all sorts of areas. I absolutely love it and use it every day;

10 Don’t reach for the coffee! Try a matcha latte instead with almond milk. Way healthier and very comforting; 

11 Text or call a friend if you are struggling with anything. Having a ‘buddy’ you can check in with and share things with regularly is incredibly helpful on an emotional level and at this time of year it can make such a difference knowing you have that support.

12 Vitamin D is a must at this time of year to keep away colds and bugs and keep our energy levels up.

13 Every weekend, if you get a chance, make a couple of healthy snacks like some chocolate balls and banana flapjacks and some comforting, nutritious meals and freeze them so you don’t have to worry about cooking during the week. Just remember to take it out of the freezer in the morning! 

14 Lavender oil is genius for helping promote sleep and also keeping me calm at stressful times. I put a few drops on a tissue and have it in my pocket to wave in front of my nose when needed.

15 Don’t over book yourself. It is so easy to do and me and my family really suffer in this area but we now have a rule that we only do something one night of the weekend to keep a balance. I can get so tired and two nights on the trot is never a good idea anymore sadly and it just ruins the week afterwards!

16 Stock up on alcohol replacements if you are keeping alcohol low. There are some amazing products in the supermarkets now a days; kumbucha, elderflower, non alcoholic beer and Belvoir do a great Chardonnay and Shiraz ‘without the hangover’!

17 Maybe the most important for me last year, was not to beat myself up about eating sugar or things I wouldn’t usually eat. The best tip my nutritionist gave me this time last year was to manage my own expectations with food and set an acceptable amount of treats that I can be ok with. To give myself a break and have fun!

18 Use this holiday time to reflect on your year and write a list of all the things you have achieved and done. Give yourself a pat on the back and be proud of the year you have had, whatever has happened. Celebrate you!

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