The Straightforward Guide to Keeping Your Head at Christmas

Christmas decIt’s mid-December, and the cacophony of Christmas is getting ever louder. Even for the most organised amongst us, this time of year can feel like being caught up in a storm of shopping, wrapping, negotiating work around nativity plays and festive lunches, emotional advertising messages, high expectations and mince pie induced sugar rushes.

Here’s the Straightforward Guide to keeping your head at Christmas:

Decide what is most important to you about this Christmas.

Not the concept of Christmas in general, but the one coming at you in a few days’ time. Is it spending time with family? Is it letting your hair down and partying? Is it a chance to wind down? Choose one or two things that are your priorities this year. Write them down.

Now write down a full list of everything Christmas related that is still on your to-do list for this year. Include presents, wrapping, posting, arranging, socialising, food planning… the whole works. When you’re done, study that list carefully.

If you’re up for all of it and not overwhelmed, then great.

If just writing it seemed daunting, now is your time to go back to what you decided was most important about this Christmas and review the list with that in mind. Is there anything on your list that you can cross out? If spending time with your partner is most important, for example, does it really matter if you don’t make your own Christmas pudding? Or if you look forward to the cooking, could you maybe skip the Christmas cards this year and donate to charity instead?

There are no prizes for ‘doing Christmas right’ as dictated by the media. Identifying what’s most important for you this year will help you to enjoy the festive season rather than be intimidated by its onslaught.

Make space for Christmas

Look in your diary and mark the actual days you will have for Christmas. If you have your own business and/or work from home, this is especially important. You don’t want to be thinking about your emails whilst trimming your sprouts, or vice versa! There will inevitably be quite a lot of ‘finishing off’ with work just before the holidays, and if this gets tangled up with the Christmas drinks and extras, some tasks can drag on into the holidays.

Sometimes it’s necessary to work during the holidays, but be really clear when your work time will be. When your allotted time is over, close your computer, grab a glass of fizz and switch off from work entirely until the next scheduled spot. And do make sure you have at least one full day completely free from work – preferably more!

Make space for you

Juggling work, family and holidays can be exhausting, so give yourself a break every day and check in with your own needs. A 10 minute meditation, 20 minute nap or a lengthy soak in a hot bath will give your head the chance to ‘reset’ and plug into your God socket.

Daylight helps to keep us recharged during the summer, but it’s in shorter supply around Christmastime. If you can combine taking some time for yourself with getting some fresh air and sunlight by sitting in the garden or going on a walk, you benefit from the mood-boosting outdoors, as well as getting away from the constant tinkling of your child’s latest Nintendo game.

Above all, relax! Christmas really isn’t a competition. Enjoy your time off and the company of those around you, and give yourself permission to be positive, not perfect.

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