How To Beat Social Jet Lag

THERE’S TINSEL STREWN AROUND THE SUPERMARKETS, Mariah Carey’s back on the charts and you don’t have any free days until January 12th, 2018. What time is it? Christmas time, obvs! And while presents and shopping and parties and dinners and lunches and barbecues are fun, toss them all together and you’ve got a recipe for guaranteed exhaustion. Between juggling your fam, friends and work pals, sometimes it seems like the only person you don’t get to see during the festive season is yourself – and it’s giving you a case of social jet lag. It might sound made up, but social jet lag is totally a thing. According to US researchers, it usually occurs when you skimp on sleep during the night and make up for it by waking up late the next day. Just like real jet lag, it messes with your circadian rhythms, which in turn messes with your mood and health. On top of losing sleep, overloading your social plate can also lead to burnout (aka irritability, trouble concentrating and lack of energy), which means you really need to show your bod some TLC during the party season. Keen to kick social jet lag to the curb? Read on for the expert lowdown.

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LEARN TO SAY NO While (politely) declining invitations and requests can make you feel like the worst person on earth, it’s super important to remember that you’re not. In most cases, saying “no” to something is a way for you to carve out time for self-care, so don’t think of it as a dirty word. Plus, unless you’ve mastered the art of time control and teleportation, it’s impossible to do everything and be everywhere at once. As lifestyle coach Heidi Rose (heidirose.com.au) says, “No matter what you choose to do, you’re never going to please everyone, so do what feels good for you. Know that your own health and happiness is more important than pleasing everyone else around you, and don’t feel like you have to make up excuses.” We’ve all been on the receiving end of a flaky excuse (sorry, I can’t come, it’s my second cousin’s girlfriend’s birthday), so before you attempt to rattle off your own, be honest with yourself – and your friend. “If you resentfully turn up to a social event you don’t want to be at, chances are you’re not going to be much fun to be around, so don’t force yourself to go if you don’t feel happy about it,” she says. Let your friend know how you’re really feeling (ie not so great), and Rose says there’s a good chance they’ll empathise.

TAKE A TIME OUT Ticking everything off your to-do list before Christmas or New Year’s is a one-way ticket to stress and fatigue, so make sure you pencil in a little ‘me time’. “The last thing you want to feel throughout the festive season is tired and moody, so don’t let it get to that stage,” says Rose. Instead, make it a priority each day to do something that helps you feel refreshed and re-energised. Whether it’s taking a nap, doing a short meditation, lying outside in the sunshine, making yourself a smoothie or jumping in the ocean, ensure your day is sprinkled with the things you love. “Listen to yourself and your body,” adds Rose. “If you’re starting to feel unwell, run down, moody or resentful towards other people, then do what makes you feel best.” It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by your social calendar (which means your friends are probably going through the same thing), so take a second to breathe and nurture your bod.

FEEL YOUR WAY Can’t figure out if you really don’t want to go to after-work drinks or if you’re just a bit tired? “Picture yourself going to the event,” says Rose. “If the thought doesn’t bring a smile to your face or fill you with a sense of happiness and excitement, then don’t go. It’s really that simple – so trust your intuition on this one.” After all, the whole point of having friends or going to social events is to have fun, so make sure your social diary reflects this. If you know you’re going to feel drained or you don’t feel comfortable around certain people, they’re not the right group to hang out with. Instead, spend your time with loved ones who put a smile on your face. Before you bring up that annual family Christmas party you’re pretty much bullied into attending (thanks, Mum), listen up. “Yes, there’ll be events you’ll need to go to, but if your calendar is looking a little too full, decide which ones are most meaningful to you,” says Rose. If you know deep down that you have to go to lunch but can’t muster up the enthusiasm for it, get yourself into a good mood before you leave. “Do this by focusing on anything that makes you feel happy,” says Rose. “Once you’re at the event, keep focusing on the positives. Scan the room and notice all the little things you like – even if it’s a beautiful plant or someone’s amazing hairstyle – and if there are certain people there who you feel triggered by, find a spot to take some deep breaths.

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