Psychologist's #1 Reason To Start Christmas Early and 5 Ways To Get There
This blog takes a closer look at why psychologists encourage us to begin Christmas early and why an early Christmas turns out to make us happier human beings. We also look at five simple ways to get us feeling all set up for the holiday season.
Psychologist's Number #1 Reason To Start Christmas Early - The Number One reason To Start Christmas Early This Year:
There are those of us who can’t wait to begin Christmas and there are those of us who think it is a scandal to see Christmas decorations before the 1st of December, and even then it seems too early to some. Actually, we can go so far as to say that this yearly discussion is the very first sign of Christmas.
Several psychologists now have concluded that the earlier we begin Christmas, the happier we become. Beginning Christmas as early as the start of November is great, psychologists agree (good news to the Christmas fans and early Christmas decorators).
Steve McKeown, a British psychologist explains those who get decorating for Christmas earlier become happier than those who wait.
“The brain's pleasure mechanisms can be activated by small festive acts and spending time with family, as this stimulates the release of 'good feel' chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin, which give a sense of euphoria” Steve McKeown
American Psychologist, Deborah Serani, supports her British colleague, and points to the fact that getting into the Christmas spirit early can trigger the brain to release dopamine, a special feel-good hormone in the brain. She continues to explain that according to chromotherapy, light and colour can raise our levels of happiness and energy.
Deborah explains: “It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness," she said. "I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out ... signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it's pleasing or not.” - Deborah Serani
And of course, nostalgia is at play here as well, for many adults, the decorations and the smells of Christmas can take us back to the sweet memories of being a child during Christmas, all the stories and magic around Christmas elves, good movies, carols, food and presents.
So let's get into the Christmas spirit, here are five simple ways to get you all set up for a lovely holiday season.
5 Ways To Get There:
Five ways to set your house and mind up for a successful Christmas.
1) Notice Christmas
We need to do nothing other than be present and notice because winter and Christmas will arrive, whether we cover our house in decoration or not. It’s just beautiful to take a moment to notice what the winter season has to offer us and what life invites us to experience.
Christmas is certainly all around us. The Christmas spirit is something that we sense in the air. We need simply just to begin to notice it.
The air outside is cool and fresh and smells crisp and cosy. The darkness works as a dimmer on a lamp, setting the whole of nature on a cosy, dimmed setting, just as we would do it ourselves when getting into movie mode. The days are slow, and the sun is rising late and setting early. Be like the sun in the winter: enjoy later and slower mornings, earlier bed and more time in your pj’s!
What if we aren’t feeling winter depression or fatigue? Throw those words up in the air and experiment with picking up the feeling of hygge, self-care, introverted, quiet, reflecting, meditating or even restoring. How about doing an extra yoga nidra or restorative yoga class? Slow down and maybe even go for a wonder in the dark mornings and evenings to simply just notice, that without anybody’s doing, Christmas has arrived, and it’s beautiful!
2) Hot Chocolate Bar
Christmas tastes of chocolate and cinnamon (and rice pudding, but I know so many people of my mother in laws generation in England were fed rice pudding at school and therefore have slightly negative associations with rice pudding. Myself, I’m from Denmark and there Christmas tastes of rice pudding with butter, cinnamon sugar and red currant lemonade, but I’ll be quiet about that, for now). Let’s get back to chocolate.
What is a hot chocolate bar?
Well, first of all, it’s amazing. It’s a super cosy thing to set up for your kids and their friends, or for yourself, even a cosy treat to invite friends and family over for a hot chocolate bar.
A hot chocolate bar is simple to set up. All it requires is mugs, hot chocolate and all (or some of) the most delicious and cosy stuff you can think of putting on and in your hot chocolate.
Here are some ideas:
- Whipped cream
- Cinnamon, ginger or cardamom
- Biscuits (to dip in)
- Dark chocolate (to stir in for even more chocolatety flavour)
- Or flavoured chocolate (to stir in for a funky twist)
- Maple syrup for extra sweetness
- Dates (to dip in)
- Nut butters (for extra thickness)
I know! Just like early Christmas decorations can divide us, so can baking. We love, we hate, we succeed or we fail when it comes to baking. Are you not naturally drawn to baking, give it a go because baking is such a great way to get your hands on Christmas, literally get yourself smelling of cinnamon and cardamom.
Christmas is soft, just like cookie dough. Bake simple recipes, like bread rolls, cookies and brownies. Add Christmas spices, like cinnamon, cardamon and even more chocolate. Brew a nice cup of tea while your goodies are in the oven. I do like baking, buuuut sometimes the recipe fails so this is a tip I love to share with you: make sure you have a delicious treat hidden somewhere, in case the oven doesn’t work or the oats play up.
4) Colouring, Yoga And Christmas Decoration
It smells of Christmas in the house, the Christmas tunes are filling the air, the oven is on and it's pretty much starting to look like Christmas, what do you do now? How do we experience Christmas, and avoid zoning out on our phones? So put your phone aside, once you read this. Get out your colouring pens, print a few mandalas or Christmas colouring-in sheets and begin to just be, colouring in. It is calming, you can do it with your friends or kids or simply while soaking in the Christmas vibes.
Another way to "be" as opposed to doing, is to roll out your mat, and lay on your RelaxFast™ Acupressure Mat. Cover yourself with a blanket and just allow yourself to relax and dose off! The best way to relax deep and fast.As a mama of two kids under 3, I experience a lack of time for self-care. The RelaxFast™ Acupressure Mat has helped me immensely! (check it out here)
Want to feel more calm, relaxed and present? Put on a yoga nidra recording, restorative yoga class or a yin yoga class.
5) Practice The Opposites:
Christmas is a time for reflection and inward journeying. Because we are often faced with opposites during this time, Christmas creates the perfect opportunity for self-awareness and reflection. It is a great opportunity to slow down and check in on yourself. Are we living how we really want to? Are we connected to our values?
What are the opposites of Christmas? What do associate with Christmas?
- and spicy.
If we imagine a line where at one end we find "warmth" and at the other end "cold". The line in-between is the space. Space creates an opportunity for reflection, observation and new ideas.
It's fun to expose yourself to opposites. Get out into the cold, wonder, walk and breathe in the fresh air, then get back in to enjoy the process of getting warm and snuggling up on the couch with a blanket and your favourite book, magazine or episode. Or experience the darkness by lighting candles. Seeing the flame dance in the dark, gives a perfect opportunity to sit and just....be...
Perhaps even winter bathing with a sauna is something for you?
Happy holiday season!
Loved Psychologist's #1 Reason To Start Christmas Early and 5 Ways To Get There?
In this article we are referring to the following three articles: