A Guide To Navigating The Festive Period As Stress-Free As Possible
This time of the year, whilst marketed as magical and relaxing is frankly the complete opposite. And you’ll know that once you get to a certain point in life that the lead up to the festive period is tough, there is always a million and one things to be done whilst trying to keep up with everything else you usually have to do and there is nowhere near enough days off to get it all done. So here is a little guide to getting through the next few weeks without (fingers crossed) having a mini-meltdown on Christmas Eve.
WHAT’S VITAL AND WHAT’S NOT
I’m a firm believer that we can do absolutely anything we desire but that doesn’t always mean we can do everything, and that is ok! There is so much pressure during this time of year to do absolutely everything, whether that’s pressure from society or pressure from our loved ones and it can be very overwhelming. I know that there are always so many things that I’d like to do but then when I look at those things with my realistic glasses on rather than my rose tinted ones and realise I have to be honest with myself. Because deep down I know that I cannot do things at The Sims x3 speed so the to-do list soon gets smaller. For me, these are the things that I like to make sure I do and the things that can get left unticked;
Get gifts for my closest loved ones as well as a thoughtful card.
Donate something, whether than be clothes I’m no longer using or pet food to a rehoming centre.
Quality time with my loved ones and send texts to the ones that I won’t be seeing.
Time at home with my boyfriend and the hounds.
A day or two with 0 plans.
Switching my OOO on and leaving work alone for a few days.
things that are nice but not vital
Exercise, always something that makes me feel awesome but it’s not always the easiest time to fit it into my routine. Especially with the dark and miserable nights!
A social occasion every-night.
As well as social occasions with people who don’t make me feel good about myself and leave me feeling deflated.
Crafts and making everything from scratch, such a lovely thing to do but not always the best when time is limited.
The fear of saying no and hurting someone’s feelings is something that I imagine we all feel from time to time but especially at this time of year. Because ultimately when we care about someone we always want to try to do everything we can to keep that good relationship going but sometimes we might have to say no which is ok. And it might not always be to a loved one, it might be something to do with work and that can be an even harder no to give but there is something certainly empowering about saying those two simple letters. I know, as someone who works for themselves I have a problem with saying yes to demands that are often a little too much and will then put me seriously behind with everything else that I need to get done. Saying no or even suggesting another avenue of doing something is an option that we should feel like we’re allowed to have. I've spoken so many times about the danger of constantly people-pleasing, it can lead to you feeling seriously rotten and burned out.
HAVE TIME TO YOURSELF
As someone who is a true introvert something that I find incredibly important is to make sure in everything that I’ve arranged for the festive period I need to have a little bit of time to myself to do absolutely whatever I please. And because the festive period is typically a very social time I need that time to recharge. Doing this is something that I’m striving to do more and more, I’m not talking about an entire day or multiple days, even just a couple of hours to sit and watch something I really enjoy or read a book is more than ample. Far too often I find myself sitting down with the intention of having some time do something I want and then the next moment I’m opening up my laptop and phone. I’m such a faffer and it’s something I definitely want to nip in the bud this festive season so I can feel properly refreshed and go back into work with a clear head instead of a thousand things going through it at once which is typically what my day is like.
write a list & check it twice
Some people can go through life never writing a to-do list or having a calendar but I am not one of those people. I have to have a list and a plan and these are my best tips for getting everything done;
Do a little bit at a time, breaking tasks down always makes them feel far easier.
Use a calendar so you never end up double booking yourself.
Give yourself a reasonable list (my rule is never more than an A5 page) and be aware of the time something needs to be done. For example, sometimes you might have to do something in daylight hours whilst another task could be done at night.
Always allow wiggle room for something going wrong.
If you’re planning something with someone else then make sure they’re fully aware of all the details so you’re both on the same page and don’t have to do a mad rush at the last minute.
When travelling make sure everything is printed off that you might need and try to lay everything out the day before so you know if there is anything missing.
Keep important things like bank cards, passport and driving license close by if you’re travelling as you never want to leave them behind by accident.
REMEMBER WHAT MAKES THIS TIME OF YEAR SPECIAL TO YOU
It’s really easy to get caught up with the commercialism at this time of year with everything that is online and in the media, there is no where enough focus on what makes this time of year so special and for me that is always my loved ones. I know when I was younger I really did tend to focus on gifts but now I’m older it’s far more about the people. Spending time with my family is what I look forward to the most as now that I’ve moved out it’s very rare that we’re all together (dogs included, of course). And it always reminds me that to all get together it shouldn’t have to be because it’s a certain time of year.
Finally, it’s ok if it’s not a happy time
Although this post is all about staying organised something I'm very conscious about whilst writing this is that this can be an incredibly hard time for so many of us. I’m so fortunate that I get to spend Christmas knowing that I will be warm, dry and fed but this is not something that everyone gets to have. And as an adult, this is something that I’m so much more aware of, when you’re younger you believe that the festive period is a happy time for everybody and it’s absolutely not. This time of year can be hard for so many of us but if we’re not seen grinning from ear to ear at the mere sight of a Christmas tree then we're instantly labelled as a Grinch and that’s a stereotype that’s got to stop. Mental health illnesses, physical illnesses, money worries, family issues, and so many more things don’t suddenly disappear because it’s December. Here is a great list of charities to give to if you’re in a position to do so and also if you do have any spare outerwear remember to donate that before it gets even colder.