As the holiday season fast approaches, the anticipation of Christmas festivities can bring both joy and stress.
With Christmas day fewer than four week away, navigating the holiday rush can feel overwhelming. Amidst the hustle and bustle, prioritising your wellbeing is essential. In today’s Wellbeing Wednesday article, accredited life coach Carmela Glover-Green suggests practical tips to embrace a stress-free Christmas and savour the joy of the season.
We always promise ourselves that next year will be different, don’t we!
We won’t overindulge, we won’t overspend and we definitely won’t overwhelm ourselves next time! This well-intentioned promise generally gets lost around the time we begin hearing the Christmas songs in the shops and when those infuriatingly enticing adverts, portraying an unrealistic, overly glamorous and impossible to achieve Christmas, start popping up on the television.
The pressure begins to build and before we know it we are back in the thick of it. Arriving into January frazzled and quite frankly exhausted seems to be the norm these days.
We are all the same, but let’s pause for a moment. This year, we could actually do it differently, couldn’t we?
As a coach I spend many of my sessions in January dealing with the results of post-Christmas overwhelm, and I am here through this article to try and help you implement six simple strategies that will hopefully help you to avoid it before it even happens.
1. Identify your priorities
Firstly, I would like you to sit down for just five minutes and really think about what is most important to you to achieve this Christmas. Forget others’ expectations, let’s just focus on you for a moment. Pop it down on a piece of paper.
2. Let’s do a huge brain dump exercise!
Get that to-do list of never-ending tasks out of your head and onto paper – or into your phone if that’s easier.
Let it all go on the list – no job too small, get it all down! The aim is to stop it all buzzing around and using up your headspace and causing you unnecessary stress. With your list written down, you can gain some order and clarity.
Whilst looking at this list, I want you to refer to the note you made in point 1; double-check that these tasks align to what you are wishing to create and be ruthless – crossing off anything that either doesn’t match what you are trying to achieve or doesn’t feel absolutely essential. Every time you feel a new surge of overwhelm beginning, refer back to your notes for point 1 and double check you are still staying within its parameters.
3. Be realistic with your time
Once you have established exactly what needs doing, it’s now a case of working out how much time you have to achieve this. If there is too much there for you to achieve, then there are two choices. You either delegate some tasks or remove some. Do not push yourself to achieve an unrealistic goal. Delegating tasks can be hard, especially if you are not used to doing it. It may be that someone doesn’t do something quite as you would have, but sometimes we must be satisfied with “good enough” rather than perfection. Let’s remember our aim is to arrive at the day itself feeling calmer and clearer than we have in years gone by. To do that requires making some changes which at times may feel uncomfortable – but that’s ok!
4. Keep spending to a manageable amount
We all know this, but how often does it become just one more gift until you’ve frankly forgotten what on earth you have actually bought.
Let’s be honest here and admit that we know only too well that feeling that once all the paper has been ripped off and the presents momentarily welcomed with glee, they are all but forgotten in favour of the next one. It really is a case of quality not quantity for the sake of our bank balances, our planet and to save the overwhelm that comes with a house full of clutter requiring goodness knows how many trips to the recycling if only we could find the time! Let’s save ourselves from this where possible.
5. Learn to say no!
You do not need to attend every single event you are invited to. Your children are not missing out if you haven’t taken part in all the latest new ‘traditions’ we parents seem to be expected to provide. Dare I mention Elf on the Shelf or a Christmas Eve box? Choose what works for you and your family.
6. Try to relax in the run-up
Last but not least, take time to recharge your own batteries during the run-up to Christmas.
Yes, it’s busy beyond belief, but please prioritise even five minutes each day to quite simply ground yourself, and this will help beyond measure to keep your levels topped up. Do this in whatever form works for you. Is it hopping onto an app and doing a quick meditation or a breath-work exercise? Is it a hot cup of coffee and five minutes reading a book, a chat with a friend or partner? I promise the benefits of this daily ritual will far outweigh anything else you could have achieved in that time.
Good luck all and see you on the other side!