How To Create Little Timeouts For The Christmas Season

This blog post is kindly supported by Tujuh as they give away a product. I haven't been paid to write this article.

Are you a perfectly organized Christmas person or do you struggle between Christmas parties and buying presents, to finally find some time for yourself? Let's find out how you can create little timeouts to enjoy this Christmas season in my fitness blogger advent calendar. Hint: I also have a little giveaway for you!

Together with five blogger colleagues of mine (two others named Melanie by the way ;) I am happy to announce it's time for my blog post on the 3rd advent. With our fitness blogger advent calendar we want to talk about nutrition, sport, wellbeing, and health. Here's a short overview of what has been written and what is going to happen next. Sorry, they're all in German! 


Why we need timeouts before Christmas

Most of us take some time off around Christmas and after the festivities. Especially after the 26th, I feel I can finally relax and enjoy my time to the fullest. Watch those cool and romantic Christmas movies their playing on the TV (especially nice for me as I rarely watch TV, and I find the time around Christmas is just perfect for that). Go skiing, meeting up with friends, long walks in the snow, yes, you name it... 


Here's the point. I think it's important to create such timeouts in the hectic time before we have our well deserved Christmas vacation. 

As the days come closer to Christmas, the busier our days become. Or is it only me? Here's just a few things I can think of: meet family and friends before Christmas (remember everyone is super busy until Christmas, so it becomes hard to find such time slots), work projects have to be finished, deadlines are around every corner, decorate your apartment or house, bake Christmas cookies (even to buy them you need some time ;), think of all the Christmas presents, buy them, wrap them, Christmas dinner preparations, Christmas parties from your company (in my case I work for different companies which means lots of Christmas parties!).....The list could go on and on, and on. I hope you get my point. Next to a job or having a family, there's just a lot to think of, organize and prepare. 


Now, let's look for new rituals that can change this season to an even brighter one. 

#1 Breakfast

Broste bowl by Tujuh © Melanie Klien @Mafambani
Broste bowl by Tujuh

Let's start with one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Breakfast! If you're not a new reader, you know very well, that I do enjoy long breakfasts. Now, I know most of us are working (like me), and I love to sleep. Therefore, I can't start my mornings too slow. I remember the days when I didn't have breakfast at all or just ate a piece of bread with some jam on it, and rushed out of the door. I also had phases where I prepared myself a porridge, put it in a glass container and took it with me to work. While this is better than nothing at all, it's not the best choice for me as I waited until I got to my work place and once I was there I couldn't fully focus on my breakfast, because work had to be done.

Here's how I do it now: My partner and I prepare our porridge the night before we go to bed. Always a bit differently with oats, chia seeds or ground flaxseed, dried fruits or fresh fruits (banana, apples...), whatever is available. Sometimes we use a base porridge too. We use plant base milk and like top it with cinnamon. It's time to get creative! 


As times before Christmas can become quite hectic and people tend to eat quite unhealthy too (hello Christmas cookies, mulled wine, and greasy food, I like to think of taking some time to give my body a mindful start into the morning with a tea or hot lemon water and a porridge. It's a beautiful love message to my body and it allows me to start my day with a big portion of mindfulness. 


Additional mindfulness tip: When you warm up your porridge and prepare your hot beverage, put away your phone. Try as much as possible to avoid checking your social media early in the morning. That could count for pretty much every day, but especially before Christmas, it's good not to look too much on social media how perfectly everyone else is getting ready for Christmas. 

Now, I already mentioned there will be something to win. In cooperation with Tujuh - Schöne Dinge, a beautiful and mindful online shop, I want to give away a muesli bowl by Broste Copenhagen. Keep on reading my other small rituals and find all the info at the end of the blog post.  

#2 Move your body

In busy times, we need to pay particular attention to our body. Believe me, I learned it the hard way this year. Keep your mind and your body healthy. Before it's Christmas, we start eating a lot, maybe stay long hours in the office to finish up projects, and kind of forget that our body wants to move. Sitting is the new smoking is not just a random saying, it's actually true. Our bodies are made to move and they need to stretch and want to be used. It's cold outside and the days are short as it gets dark quite early. 


My strategy: Make appointments! I haven't been running for an entire year now! My new strategy is to make a running date with my partner. As I can't run for a long time, we run together for a while, and as we return, he drops me at home, before he continues with his run. By doing so, I don't have to worry running back home alone in the dark (which I don't feel comfortable with), and also I have a motivation to go as we have a running date. 


If you live on your own, make a running date with your best friend! It's always easier and more motivating to go together.  


Let's put this straight: I don't love running at all. If you prefer a softer version: Walk! Right now I try to keep my lunch breaks shorter. I warm up my lunch box, eat and try whenever possible to put on my coat and walk for a little bit, and even if it's only for 5 minutes. I am already waiting for the snow to come, I love long walks in the snow. 

#3 Regenerative yoga

I love yoga. Lately, unfortunately, it's not easy for me to find a class where I can go on a regular basis. Some of them start too early, while others too late. Now, in busy times, I like to take a step back and enjoy the slow moments. While I did try Yin yoga a few times, I enjoyed my first regenerative yoga class in Berlin last year in spring. I loved it so much, and finally, I found a great regenerative yoga class here in Vorarlberg. It's only once a month, but it's one of my highlights. The class was at the beginning of December on a late Friday afternoon. I can't tell you how much I was able to slow down. There's enough time to go from one position to the other and with many props, you stay quite a long time too in some positions. It doesn't look like it's exhausting, but it's very effective! If you have something similar close by, try it out! It's a wonderful change to a normal yoga class and especially calming and benefitting at Christmas time. Give your body some time to rest, and regenerate and give your body the possibility to deeply get into those stretches.

#4 Take a wellness break

Now, this really depends on your schedule. I know two girls who went for a wellness weekend just shortly before Christmas. Well, why not? It's the perfect time to relax for a weekend and to enjoy the art of doing nothing. On our latest trip to East Tyrol we also discovered that slowing down is so powerful. Staying for a weekend in a resort where it's all about recovering, spending time together, to enjoy the sauna and to eat good, I could feel how much energy I got from this experience. 

Gradonna Mountain Resort, Kals, Austria © Melanie Klien @Mafambani

Well, this experience might not be possible for everyone. Especially since usually there are quite a few expenses around Christmas time. Gifts, food, and so on. I can totally understand that you cannot book an expensive wellness trip. But, what if you make a new routine before Christmas? Here are a  few options! 


  • Want to spend some time with a friend or with a family member? Spend a day with them in a hotel spa close-by where you can pay per day. You don't have to spend somewhere a night to fully unwind and relax for a few hours. You will feel like a new-born after leaving the hotel. 
  • Have less time? Visit the sauna once a week before Christmas. 
  • It's too cold outside for sports for you? Go to an indoor swimming pool to swim a few rounds.
  • Need a time out to relax? Your body needs some love? Book yourself in for a massage. 

#5 Less is more.

When did we actually begin to put ourselves under such pressure? We hear from friends, work colleagues, and from social media what everyone did so far in the Christmas season. I look at those pictures on social media and tend to compare myself with others. Tell me, how did this person come up with 10 different kinds of Christmas cookies, decorated the entire house, organized already all Christmas presents in the first week of December, manages to do sports, go to work and has visited already 5 Christmas markets?  WAIT for A SECOND! 

Stop it! Don't put yourself under pressure. I know exactly what you are going through. I just had a conversation this week with my work colleagues. It's okay not to bake Christmas cookies at all. It's okay not to do whatever feels good for you. If you don't enjoy decorating, keep it to the minimum. Who said you need to be in a Christmas spirit if you just don't feel like it? 

So, take me for example. "Why have I not been able to bake single Christmas cookie yet?" Well, let's be honest. I have a full work week, and I decided I wanted to decorate the apartment rather than baking cookies. On two Sundays I thought I rather bake a banana or apple bread, instead of cookies. No sugar, pretty healthy and delicious. I think it's okay to tell yourself that it's perfectly fine not to do everything. It's totally acceptable to simply relax during the Christmas time. The nights are dark, we do get tired quite early and our body is in winter energy saving mode. As important as activation is (that's one of the topics how to stay fit and healthy in our fitness blogger advent calendar), it's just as important to relax and to give our bodies time to recover. It's okay to simply enjoy the Christmas time. So, if you put pressure on yourself on the next upcoming days until Christmas, focus on what you really want to do. Do you want to spend time with friends and family AND be at the Christmas market? Combine it! You rather spend the night on the couch with your favorite book and a cup of tea? Don't feel bad about it, simply enjoy it. 


Let's give up this tendency to perfectionism, let's compare each other less, let's simply enjoy this time of the year. Whatever feels good for you, do it.

#6 Christmas presents

Save time by asking people what they want for Christmas. While I do like the idea to surprise others, that's not always possible. Yeah, I know a lot of people nowadays simply decide not to give any presents anymore. I can understand it, but I am not that type of person. I do enjoy giving presents ... a lot! It makes me happy to surprise others and make others happy. If you want to save some money, scroll through Pinterest and find the most beautiful ideas on homemade gifts which your loved ones will enjoy. 

#7 Women ritual

First I didn't want to share this in here, but then it got me yesterday that this is the perfect story to tell. This weekend I am basically locking myself up with a few other women to go through a healing ritual. So, instead of a wellness weekend, I am giving my soul some wellness and I'm opening up to heal whatever needs healing. I have never attended such a circle and I fell in love with it right after we started. The group of women is diverse, everyone is kind and we talk about so many interesting things. This is a big timeout this weekend which I am only dedicating to this place and this group and although it's quite exhausting, it's so rewarding. Today (3rd advent) will be my time to get the ritual from the shaman.

#8 Mindful nights

Remember all those late summer nights when you were sipping wine outside with your friends and always came home late? In summer there's just so much more energy that we have, we spend a lot of time in the sun and everything is easier. As the nights turn darker and it's getting colder in Europe, we tend to need more recovery time. Try as much as possible before Christmas to tune into your body and listen more to your body than to your mind. Do what feels good and if that's skipping a yoga class to lie at home on the floor and do only a few asanas or go to bed early to recover, than do it! 

Time for my give-away


What's Tujuh exactly? 


Tujuh is the number seven in Indonesian. It's a small online shop by the dear Esther Bartenschlager and her team. Her fabulous online shop is dedicated to only have products in their shop with fair prices, where suppliers are treated fair and with respect. They do support projects like "giving and living" where baskets are produced in Syria out of old car tyres. Opening the package that was delivered by Tujuh was a pure pleasure. I even found a CD in there with "Tujuh sound" and enjoyed it while driving through Germany on my last trip. 



Tujuh only ships to those countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, UK, France, Poland, Finnland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. 


The give-away will take all participants together (also from Social Media). Winner will be announced here on December 26th.


If you do speak English and you have problems on the website, simply send the link of the products via email and order it this way and mention your 15% voucher from Mafambani. 

Lovely people, I am happy to give away a beautiful muesli bowl by Tujuh. Not just for your breakfast, but simply an eyecatcher in your kitchen. All you need to do is to tell me in the comments what kind of little ritual or timeout you had in this Christmas season so far or what kind of timeout you're planning? Any ritual you practice to enjoy this season a bit more? 



Additionally to this beautiful bowl you get a 15% voucher on your shopping at Tujuh.