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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

5 ways to avoid that irritable, channel-hopping slump over Christmas break


By Jennifer McShane
22nd Dec 2021
5 ways to avoid that irritable, channel-hopping slump over Christmas break

By all means, relax and unwind this Christmas (we all deserve it after the two years we've had) but avoid edging towards grumpy lethargy with these tips.

Let’s be honest, the Christmas ‘slump’ is one of the best things about this time of year. You know the feeling well; you’re passed out on the couch from a severe food coma, sitting in your cosies, quite sure that you won’t be leaving the house for the outside world (how dare anyone suggest such a thing) for at least a week. Constant days of this can have their downsides, however. There are only so many days a week you can justify wearing your Christmas PJs and eating non-stop turkey sandwiches (10 days in a row is probably a bit much). I think what starts to hinder my enjoyment of freedom over the festive period is that I always feel a little stalled out, a little stagnant.

I do a lot of sitting around, a lot of snacking and a lot of sleeping (as we all should), but then I invariably feel like I’ve wasted all this time – and even though it’s free time (and brilliant), I still feel like I should have utilised it more. The key here is balance. It’s about embracing glorious slump mode whilst having a plan of scheduled fun to ensure that you really get the most of your break. When all is said and done – food eaten, gifts eagerly torn open – and it’s time to get back to real life, you should feel like you’ve yielded some tangible accomplishments, or, at the very least, partaken in some good old fashioned soul searching. Here are a few tips to avoid the over-slump, should you need some inspiration:

Plan ahead

You can enjoy happily doing zilch while productively planning how else you might make the most of your free time. Catch up on those books you swore you’d read, start that well-intended to-do list for next year, plan you see your childhood friends for blissful reminiscing, the choice is yours. If you go into a holiday break with productive intentions, there’s a good chance that you’ll, at least, spend a portion of time not on your couch watching TV and unwittingly growing grouchier by the day.

Go outside (every day if possible)

We know that is potentially asking a lot considering the time of year, but when you’re struggling to leave the bed for the 10th day in a row, getting out even for a short time each day will boost your energy levels. A brisk walk on a cold, crisp morning can do wonders.

Reconnect with old pals

The holiday season is all about catching up with your nearest and dearest. Zoom it may have to been our main form of contact lately but it’s all about connecting – even if that means virtually. If you’ve drifted apart from the friends you once had at 15 (life can have a funny way of making that happen), remember that you were best buds initially for a reason, and though time has past, time spent with those you’ve not seen in years should warm the soul and take you out of your own head (and away from your couch) for a little while at least.

Become your own tour guide

Visit some of your old favourite places. Yes, we all have at least two of those. Remembering who you were at 16 (because you’ll have changed a lot over the years) and who you are now is a wonderful, complex way to take stock of your year and your future. We’re made up of so many little moments. We’re survivors, regardless of how our lives have gone. Seek out some of those little moments. Say hello to those old parts of you. Sometimes we just need a reminder of the dreams we yearned to chase at 16 because they surely still exist in some form now.

Enjoy taking time out alone

Being around your family in one house for a long extended period can be draining, regardless of how much you love them. Even those of us who are extreme extroverts need some alone time during the holidays. Don’t feel bad about asking for it, it’s normal to want some time to yourself. Go for a walk, go for a drive, go for a bike ride, revel in that silence for a while. You made it through another year, and that’s pretty darn good.

And above all, enjoy yourself! It’s your time, so whether you want to stay in slump mode for a week or just a day, the choice is yours. Do it as you like and be happy.