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How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever!

How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever!


    Is Christmas a joyous time for you? Or are you stressed?

    Overspending on presents, pressure from kids and other loved ones, prolonged and close proximity to difficult family members and loneliness can all build up your stress levels. Christmas can also be very demanding on your relationship as you spend a lot of time together with family and in-laws.

    However, it doesn’t have to be so. Christmas is meant to be fun and joyous. This year take charge and make it work for you.

    Make this Christmas the best ever for you and the family. Sit down right now for half an hour and decide for yourself what you can do this year to make it so.

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    1. Choose to believe that everything will go well. If you believe the office Christmas party is going to be boring, then think instead that it will be a lot of fun. Think only positively, and Christmas will be so much more joyous for you.

    2. Watch that credit card. Do not overspend to have a good time. Hide it for the next two weeks and use your cash only as and when you wish to do so, without any outside influence.

    3. Work out a sensible budget, so it doesn’t undermine the whole of 2009 for you. Christmas is only as “commercialised” as you let it be, and it can work on any budget. It is the things you do with people and the way you are with people that matter the most, not how much you spend on them. YOU are the greatest gift you can ever give – it requires no money whatsoever.

    Do everyone in your life a massive favour and suggest they curb their gift expectations. Go even further, and suggest that they give some cash to your chosen charity instead of a gift to you. After all you may already have everything you want, and you will be avoiding build up of clutter.

    If you must give a gift and you are uncertain about what to buy for whom, then give a gift voucher. Avoid that extra stress of anticipating whether they will/won’t like your gift.

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    4. Make the best of yourself for all those exciting parties and dinners. You deserve to look your best and now is the time to get that wardrobe in shape and to get a groovy hair cut.

    5. Stop worrying about how the house is going to look when you have visitors and family around. They will not even notice if say the net curtains are not washed. There is no need to create that perfect Christmas as seen in all those ads. The best way to make everyone feel welcome is to be a happy relaxed host.

    6. Accept your relations just as they are. They mean well and they are doing the best they can with their current level of awareness, knowledge and understanding. Enjoy their special company and eccentricities today – no one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, never mind by next Christmas.

    7. Do something different this year. Perhaps change the venue of your Christmas party or dinner, or make it a Christmas full of activities such as walking.

    8. Create an alternative Christmas lunch – rather than slaving over the usual cooked lunch, have a “free for all” whereby everyone can have their favourite food. Allow anything as long as it is quick, easy and they can prepare or cook it themselves. You can then eat as and when you want and bask in front of the TV, if that’s what you like. Then have your Christmas lunch a few days later, once everything has settled down.

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    9. If you are going to be on your own over Christmas, then see it as an opportunity for freedom and space to enjoy the festivities even more. Do not let being on your own stop you from having a good time. Perhaps you can connect with other people like you, and have a communal Christmas lunch together.

    10. Spend quality time with your significant other and plan your time off from housework etc as if you were both still at work on your normal jobs.

    11. Volunteer your time and contribute to others. Focus on others and spread good vibes all around you. Think who you can help – perhaps a neighbour with the food shopping or babysitting. How about throwing a children’s party? Or feeding the homeless on Christmas eve?

    Remember, it is the giver who gets the gift. What a great Christmas gift for yourself!

    12. Chill out – if a guest spills some red wine, ask if it really matters. It will eventually wash out anyway, and is it worth getting your back up?

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    Finally, have fun! Simply relax and enjoy what is one of the best times of the year.

    Ultimately, you can choose just how this holiday season will be like for you. You can choose to love the Christmas shopping, the queues, the crushes in the stores, in the same way as you love the seasonal music in stores, the feeling of sharing and the spirit of goodwill.

    To quote a Christmas film (Scrooge), ‘We act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people we always hoped we would be.’

    And in the coming year, make it one of your goals to be THE person you always hoped to be, ALL year around.

    A joyous Christmas everyone!

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

    1. Cat Camel Stretch

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

    3. Jumping Jacks

    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

    4. Abductor Side Lifts

    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

    5. Balancing Table Pose

    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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      6. Leg Squats

      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

      7. Push Ups

      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

      8. Bicycle Crunches

      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

      9. Lunges

      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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      10. Bicep Curls

      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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