For many of us, the end of the year means a break from work and more time with the kids and wider family and friends. That's great, of course. But it can also bring added stress juggling summer gatherings and your many and varied other commitments over the so-called holiday season.
Sometimes, for women, the need to please those we love and impress those we don't can leave us feeling as though we haven't lived up to expectations. This busy time of year can make those feelings even more acute.
So what can we do to relieve some of this pressure?
Start by being kind to yourself, says Jean Hailes psychologist Dr Mandy Deeks. Women often spend the majority of their time putting the needs of others first. But consider the adage, 'In the event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first."
'Look after yourself and you'll be less stressed about the swirling activities and emotions constantly going on around you," says Dr Deeks.
Take time out to relax
Stopping and taking time out can reduce anxiety and stress. Even five minutes of relaxation can create feelings of calm.
Consider setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness. It sounds serious but mindfulness is really a simple form of meditation that encourages slow and steady breathing and discourages negative thoughts.
Mindfulness can be done in a quiet space at any hour of the day, making it easy to carve out time for it even during the busy work week.
Brushing aside negative thoughts can take some work. But doing so will give you a stronger outlook on life. As part of this, building your own confidence is also an important part of feeling good.
Taking steps to feel better about yourself isn't about being selfish. It's about taking note of your achievements, accepting compliments at face value and enjoying time with good friends. These all contribute to a stronger sense of self, helping you navigate the bumps in the road of life.
And even if you recognise that you do need to boost your confidence, remember that you can't feel 100% confident about all aspects of your life all of the time. The ebb and flow of daily life is a constant challenge for everyone. That's what makes life so interesting.
Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health
1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642)