Last day of these little hints and tips, and I hope they have perhaps given you some ideas of where you could make some little tweaks here and there, to provide you with a bit more breathing space at this busy time of year.
But they are things which you can put into practice at any time. Maybe by taking time out to notice when you are getting stressed, or making more time to do things you enjoy, you have realised you need to do this more often?
If so, try to keep these little reminders as we head off into the new year too, as part of your ongoing practice.
Hopefully you will be able to take some time off over the festive season. Goodness knows we could all do with it after this year! Before your time off goes in a flash, it can help to set time aside to enjoy some comforting or joyous activities so that you get to enjoy the break too….e.g. don’t spend all of your time in the kitchen (note to self!).
Try and make a list of your favourite activities or traditions that you would like to do, and plan when you could do them. Commit to doing them as a non negotiable, so that you can have things in the diary to look forward to, instead of all the usual tasks. At this time of year, other things can wait!
There always seems to be another thing to tick off the to-do list at this time of year…writing cards, posting parcels, present shopping, food shopping, baking etc!
Sometimes the lead-up and preparations are the things which help to add to the excitement but if we are struggling to fit things in, it’s not so much ho-ho-ho.
If you are starting to feel as though you don’t know how you’ll fit it all in, try and think about how you are spending your days…if you usually spend time scrolling in the evenings, could you have a screen break and get some cards written instead? Or rather than watching the gloomy news, play some festive tunes to lift the spirits and get the wrapping started.
How we spend our time will affect our mood and it’s tempting to keep ploughing on, trying to get everything done. But making a few small tweaks when we recognise that things may be getting a bit off kilter can help to reduce the pressure, and have us feeling more festive!
This is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, however this year in particular may be a little different. We may not be able to meet up with loved ones or celebrate as we would normally, and for a lot of people it will be a normal working day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of creating the ‘perfect’ Christmas and making sure everything is done and done well, and that somehow we are letting people (or ourselves) down if it’s not perfect. But it doesn’t have to be.
Taking a break from social media around this time can also help to reduce the feelings of comparison – the ‘why doesn’t my life look like that’ or highlighting reminders of things, or people, that may be missing from your life this year.
Whatever your festive season looks like, it’s an important time to take stock of this year and be grateful for the really important things. If you can meet with loved ones, then enjoy being able to spend that time together. If you’re alone, try and include some of your favourite activities and spend the day how you would like to, whether they are festive related or not.
Choose what will be the most comforting and joyous things for you, so that you can enjoy them without pressure.
As the days get busier, and the to-do list gets longer, we can start to feel as though we are trying to keep all of the plates spinning, and taking time to relax and breathe can easily be forgotten. We can end up feeling overwhelmed or burned out, and things can feel anything but comforting or joyous.
So today, try to start to become aware of where stress may be arising – can you feel it physically, with little aches or niggles? Looking out for signs of irritability or overwhelm can help to identify when things may be getting a bit too much and you need to take a break. Your body has a way of telling you when something is wrong, so try and take some time to do a quick body scan, and if you notice you’re holding tension, take some deep breaths, have a good stretch, and release.
Almost halfway through December, and hopefully you will be looking forward to preparing for some down time over the festive season. But I’m guessing there are still quite a few tasks to tick off before we get there, right?!
And does anyone else end up getting unwell when they go on holiday or take time off? I’m usually running around trying to do ALL the things in the lead up to Christmas and then collapse in a big heap when I get there…often ending up with a heavy cold just in time for my Christmas dinner.
This year has already been challenging enough, so I’m going to make sure I take some time out in the run-up to the busy season so that I can enjoy all the preparations, rather than feeling as though my to-do list is longer than Santa’s beard.
For the next five days, I’ll be posting some thoughts, tips and activities of how we can add some breathing room into our busiest days…and cultivate more feelings of comfort and joy!!
Feel free to join in, or share some ideas of how you manage your time when things get hectic.