Are you bracing yourself for another busy festive season? The holidays are a time to rest, yet you may find yourself overcommitted and overindulged every year, with raised stress levels and a worn-out body.

If you are set on not overdoing it this year, we have some tips for you. You can reduce your stress, energise your body and excite your soul. Why not start the New Year fresh and healthy?

Plan how you will spend your holiday

It may seem counterintuitive, because a holiday is a time to forget about schedules and be more spontaneous, right? As with anything, a bit of planning creates structure, mental clarity and reduces any “last minute stresses” which can have a huge impact on your time and mood.

If you simply take 15 minutes now to plan your holiday and the tasks leading up to big events, the preparation will go a long way to helping you reach a state of relaxation during the holidays without nagging anxiety in the background. The upfront work helps to simplify the busy period and promotes calm, releasing you from stress.

Pro tip: You can also plan your “down days”, alone-time, exercise times and events focused around spending time with the kids, to make sure you get to do what is important to you.

Resolve to be healthier and more active through visualisation

Making healthy choices during the festive seasons is easier said than done. So, if this is something you really want for yourself, but struggle with discipline, visualisation might just keep you on track.

By doing the mental practice of visualising your actions and future situations, you train your brain for actual performance as effectively as real practice. Studies show that the same region in the brain is stimulated and the same neural pathways are formed. It’s no surprise that leading athletes use it as part of their training.

So, why not visualise keeping to your exercise regime or feeling satisfied, but not full, after saying no to that extra plate of food? When the actual event comes around, it will be like second nature and your health won’t take a knock.

Pro tip: When you visualise, use your emotions to give the brain a true-life experience. See your healthy body and radiant skin (we love healthy skin!), and feel the happiness and confidence that go along with it. Oh, and try to make visualisation a daily practice – only a few short minutes in the morning.

Take a break from social media and dream about your coming year instead

Tired of scrolling through the same old feed? We suggest you put down your phone and pick up your journal. Jot down what you would like to experience and achieve in the coming year. It does not have to be crystal clear goals; just start writing down loose ideas. If you do this regularly during the festive season, you will have a much better idea of what you would like your future to look like.

Starting the New Year with clarity about what you want from life, means you know where to concentrate your focus and energy. You’re likely to feel more in control, more confident and more motivated. In addition, studies indicate that people who feel in control of their lives have better overall health, recover faster from illnesses and also live longer.

Pro tip: If you write down clear and defined goals and look at them every day, it will be easier for you to stay on track. Progress leads to satisfaction, and increased fulfilment and happiness.