Dealing with Christmas Stress - Ten Tips

December 13, 2019

1. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine.
This is why we have Ginger Bread and Peanut Butter Lattes! Avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it.
Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful.
Swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.
You should also aim to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars - they are contained in many manufactured foods (even in savoury foods such as salad dressings and bread) and can cause energy crashes which may lead you to feel tired and irritable. In general, try to eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet.
2. Indulge in Physical Activity
Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
These are the “fight or flight” hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat. However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response, and so physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolize the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.
When you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep. Here at Serotonin we offer FREE Serotonin Exercise for one Saturday each month. Head over to see when the next session is and secure your spot.
3. Get More Sleep
A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately, though, stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.
Rather than relying on medication, your aim should be to maximise your relaxation before going to sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that cause you stress. Avoid caffeine during the evening, as well as excessive alcohol if you know that this leads to disturbed sleep. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed so that you give your brain time to calm down. Try taking a warm bath or reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you.
You should also aim to go to bed at roughly the same time each day so that your mind and body get used to a predictable bedtime routine.
4. Try Relaxation Techniques
Each day, try to relax with a stress-reduction technique. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you.
For example, try self-hypnosis which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as "calm" "love" and "peace" work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”. Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase.
Don't worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practice. Come to our Christmas Picnic on Saturday where we will be bringing in Kathleen from @mahasoma to talk about mediation and relaxation techniques! You can find all the details here
5. Talk to Someone
Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it.
Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking things through with a friend, work colleague, or even a trained professional, can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective. At Serotonin we provide Education sessions where we bring in specialists in health and wellness to ensure your questions can be answered and learn from the best! Our next session is Wednesday 18th December where leaders in their field will be talking about what they have learnt in the past decade, giving you the opportunity to ask AS MANY questions as you need! Secure your spot here. 
6. Keep a Stress Diary
Keeping a stress diary for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed.
Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally. Give each stressful episode a stress rating (on, say, a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations. This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms.
7. Take Control
Stress can be triggered by a problem that may on the surface seem impossible to solve. Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control thereby lowering your level of stress.
One problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
8. Manage Your Time
At times, we all feel overburdened by our 'To Do' list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you can not do everything at once and start to prioritise and diarise your tasks.
Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows.
By editing what might have started out as an overwhelming and unmanageable task list, you can break it down into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame, with some tasks removed from the list entirely through delegation.
Remember as well to create buffer times to deal with unexpected and emergency tasks, and to include time for your own relaxation and well-being. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Scheduled in our next event and remove the stress of Christmas shopping and tick off your list in ONE room. You can find all the details here. 
9. Learn to Say ‘No’
A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence.
To learn to say “No”, you need to understand why you find it difficult. Many people find it hard to say “No” because they want to help and are trying to be nice and to be liked. For others, it is a fear of conflict, rejection or missed opportunities. Remember that these barriers to saying “No” are all self-created.
You might feel reluctant to respond to a request with a straight “No”, at least at first. Instead, think of some pre-prepared phrases to let other people down more gently.
Practice saying phrases such as:
“I am sorry but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”

“Now is not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you ask me again at….?”

“I’d love to do this, but …”
10. Rest If You Are ill
If you are feeling unwell, do not feel that you have to carry on regardless. A short spell of rest will enable the body to recover faster.
Smiles, Love Emily xx


December 12, 2019

CHRISTMAS IS APPROACHING! Lets support our amazing local brands and give gifts that actually have meaning and are beneficial for our health.
Christmas creeping up?

Haven’t had time to buy Christmas presents yet?

Prolonging going to the shopping centers to try and buy last-minute gifts?

Wanting to support local businesses and buy quality items?

Serotonin has the answer for you!

Behold the Serotonin CHRISTMAS MARKET.

That’s right. We understand that it can get frantic at this time of year with work finishing up, preparations being made and trying to prepare yourself for the Christmas rush. That is why we are wanting to provide you with a Christmas market full of LOCAL products to support our small business owners.

Imagine. One room. 10+ local stall owners. Local goodies. Yummy snacks. And an atmosphere that won't leave you running out the door and contributing to your heightened stress levels (we are no Chadstone, that's for sure).


You will leave with:

  • Your Christmas list ticked off
  • Presents that are beneficial for our health and have meaning to them
  • Stress levels decreased
  • Heart rate decreased
  • A feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, followed by a smile you will not be able to wipe off your face!

The Important Bits:

    • Serotonin Eatery and Utopia Place - Richmond, Melbourne
    • 12pm-4:00pm Saturday 21st December 2019 (our second last day before the Christmas break)
    • All the gifts you need in ONE room
    • Talk to each of the local stallholders and find out about their stories
    • Bring your own reusable bag to put your gifts in (we love sustainability!)
    • Your keep cup because you deserve a coffee after ticking off your list 

Avoid the hectic Shopping centres and come to our Christmas market. Support the local business owners and give presents with meaning and are beneficial for our bodies! 

Stall Holders announced:

 Warning- Mariah Carey may be making an appearance over our speakers with a bit of ‘all I want for Christmas…’

Come celebrate Christmas with us before we shut the doors for Christmas break!

See you Saturday 21st December.

Serotonin breaking records since day 1

December 10, 2019

Since our first day of opening, we have been breaking records on Zomato! Did you know Serotonin was the most searched cafe in Australia for the first 2+ years we were open?! The support I received from our community was overwhelming and made all the crazy long hours worth it!

To provide this health sanctuary to our community was something I felt obliged to do and so grateful I followed my gut and went for it! Looking back now on the past 5 years, it has been one crazy rollercoaster ride that I wouldn’t change!

I wanted to provide you with a few fun facts about Serotonin and the love we have received from our community that has helped allow our doors to stay open and continue spreading happiness!

1- We are a dog-friendly cafe which means FREE meals for your Pooch when you come in.  #doggydates

2- We are apart of Melbourne’s Top 30 Most Bookmarked places! Despite not being open for dinner (although for a limited time we are available on Uber eats for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights) it is amazing to see our community making time to come visit us throughout their busy days!

3- We are apart of Melbourne's Bangin’ Brunches - our head chef was happy with this one as he takes SO much time creating drool-worthy, instagram- worthy dishes! As if it wasn't shared on insta did you really go at all? ;)

4- We made it to Zomatos Best of Melbourne collection- meaning great food and no bull! We are SO appreciative of being one of the highest ranked places in Melbourne as we put so much LOVE and THOUGHT into each and every dish we create- ensuring no one leaves here without a smile.

This just makes us more determined and accountable to continue providing high quality service with amazing dishes that make you feel good INSIDE and OUT. Come in and experience the happiest place in Melbourne and try our NEW Summer menu that will make you glowing when you leave! Check out the new menu through Zomato and book your table to avoid waiting during the weekdays or head over to waitmate to avoid lining up on weekends!

I hope to see you and your pooch soon ;) 

Smiles, Emily Hazell

Founder and Head Dealer xx


*Happie: noun

A highly motivated and optimistic individual. Who’s compassionate, practices gratitude and has a strong sense of community. Who understands themselves, their health and is a big believer in using food as medicine.


About Us

At Serotonin in Melbourne, we provide a sanctuary to escape from our fast-paced lives. As optimal health requires a holistic approach, Serotonin integrates both a nourishing Eatery, an Exercise Centre and has an Education platform. Our ethos is based around eating a plant-based diet to ensure the body, mind and earth all function at their best.


December 12, 2019