There are Christmas customs we should be doing 365 days a year (sadly, it’s not devouring mince pies and day drinking), like these…
There’s something magical about the festive season: the good cheer, a spirit of giving and, of course, the pure fun of it (it’s called the silly season for a reason, you know). While we can’t, sadly, exchange gifts and sit down to a roast lunch every day, there are some festive habits that we should be sticking to year round.
Let us know which festive habits you’ll be sticking to this year.
1. Saying thank you
You wouldn’t receive a Christmas gift without using those two little words, yet every day people do things for us that we forget to thank them for. Not convinced that adopting an attitude of gratitude will make you happier? Studies show that practising regular gratitude has a host of well-being benefits, including fewer symptoms of illness, exercising more, having a sense of greater happiness, better sleep, and reduced anger.
2. Singing out loud
Whether it’s carols by candlelight or karaoke at the office party, Christmas is singing season – not only does a good warble make us happy, it helps with our health, too. According to various studies, singing can improve breathing in people with asthma, it lowers levels of cortisol, and it fosters a sense of social connection and bonding; combined with the mood boost, it helps explain why people who sing regularly tend to live longer than those who don’t.
3. Looking forward to something
There’s a reason why shops start selling Christmas goodies in October – they know we look forward to it. Anticipation, particularly when it comes to doing things, is a nice feeling, and it’s also good for us – it boosts positivity, and it doesn’t have to be huge to get results. Research from Cornell University found experiences like going to see a movie gave people a burst of happiness. ‘Having something coming up that brightens your day just to think about can stop you from dwelling on your negative experiences,’ says life coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams.
4. Watching TV repeats
We might moan about them, but when you want to fight stress, sitting down in front of a film or TV show you’ve seen countless times before is a great way to do it. ‘You don’t have to follow the storyline like you do with a new show, which is relaxing,’ says psychology Professor Jaye Derrick from University at Buffalo. ‘Favourite characters start to feel like close friends,’ she adds. ‘This can feel comforting after a tough day.’
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5. Eating turkey
Turkey makes a seasonal appearance in many homes – and for good reason. Skinless turkey is naturally low in fat and it’s high in protein, but it ticks more than just the ‘healthy eating’ nutritional boxes. It’s a good source of vitamins B3 and 6, zinc, and the antioxidant selenium. Yes, turkey does contain the amino acid tryptophan, that helps regulate sleep, but it’s not in high enough quantities to make you nod off after the meal.
6. Visiting family
Life gets busy and it’s easy to go through the year without seeing family members near or far but don’t wait for a special occasion like Christmas to see family and other loved ones. As clichéd as it might sound, every day is a reason to celebrate with relatives. Research has proved that spending more time with family can strengthen the bond between members and lower stress hormones.
7. Volunteer your time
The festive season is a time of giving so we do tend to be more charitable around this time, but most charities need help year round. Charities don’t always require monetary assistance and value a person’s time equally, so volunteer your time if you can’t donate anything else.