It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Christmas parties, lights, so many lights, carols along the streets, hunting for gifts, indulging in food, dressing my dog up as a wee elf… What’s not to love about this season?
That said, it’s super easy to get caught up in the not so great things about Christmas. The pressure, the jam packed schedule, the excessive spending and the eternal quest for perfection.
If you are anything like me, a perfectionist, it’s easy to fall into the stress-zone.
Over the years though I came out with a list of tricks which first and foremost I am trying to stick to myself and I thought I’d share with you.
1. There’s no such thing as perfection
Let’s be honest about this. Everyone is busy and at work this time of the year is absolutely crazy (do they all think that the world will come to an end on Christmas??). We’re all for cooking homemade food but remember, not every meal needs to be a 20 course extravaganza.
If cooking is your passion fine but if not plan out your menu and find recipes that you’re happy with. A simple soup as a main, a stuffed turkey with roasted vegetable, cheeses and dessert will do the trick on Christmas day. Make your life easy and order take away food or organise a meal out (but remember to book with plenty of time in advance).
Likewise, not every gift needs to be perfectly wrapped and every table dressed ready to be featured on Pinterest. Do what you can.
Pick your priorities, decide what is really important to you and invest time in that. Outsource the rest. For instance doing my shopping on Ocado has given me more time. Remember, spending time doing what you love and with the people you love is what this season is all about.
3. Set a budget
You want to keep track of what you are spending on what; gifts, food, decorations, booze… You’ve done this before (and only a year ago) and by now you have an idea of what you need. Set a reasonable budget and stick to it.
A good trick is to take the amount out in cash so that you can’t overspend by accident. We all know just how easy it is to tap and go without realising how much money you’re actually dropping. It adds up fast!
4. Make a list
Yep, lists make life much easier, even at Christmas. Write down everything you want and need to do, all the presents you need to buy and try to think ahead what to buy to who. Prioritise the essentials and try to give you deadlines.
Make sure to leave a big gap between commitments so that you have some margin for some down time and for enjoying yourself, not watching the clock so you don’t miss your next booking.
5. Give from the heart
Not every present needs to be the fanciest or the most expensive to be valuable. There are so many lovely things that you can make yourself !
And if you don’t have time for hand made maybe going out and spending some quality time with someone you don’t see a lot will be the gift of the season.
Any gift from the heart will be a joy to give and greatly appreciated.
6. Know when to say no
Too many Christmas gatherings? It’s okay to say ‘no’. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It means that you want to be present and enjoy the activities you say ‘yes’ to!
No one wins if you’re spread too thinly, and also don’t feel you have to drink a gallon of alcohol each time you go out. Try to drink slowly and alternate each drink to a glass of water.
7. Keep up your exercise routine
It’s easy to skip a run or gym session if you think that you are too busy or perhaps you’re a tad hangover from a big night. Your motivation might be low to start due to the weather conditions, low temperature and the dark.
Keep your exercise scheduled as normal as possible. Not just for your health (hello extra treats available everywhere!) but for your general wellbeing. Sign up for a class, go to the gym with a friend or try not to cancel on your personal trainer. You will feel better mentally, emotionally and physically for it!
8. Get involved
Get out to see the lights, get tickets to a show or your favourite festive movie. Meet your friends and do fun activities with your family. Take your children to Santa’s grottos or to ice skating.
Remember the fun parts and get involved. Being out with people enjoying the festivities is a great way to bring you into the season spirit!
It’s a hectic time and we get pulled from one thing to another. Chill.
Half an hour here and there (more if you can) just having a quiet cup of tea (chai tea is my favourite in this season) and not rushing around will help you see things clearly and declutter your brain. Relax, it’s called holiday season at the end of the day.
Remember what Christmas is about. Love, family and being grateful, thankful and kind.
How do you keep stress at bay during the holidays?