Christmas is around the corner, the parties are in full swing and everyone is bursting with the joys of the season. Right? Well, not quite… As much as I love the festive season, it is also one of the busiest and most stressful times of year with work, family and life all colliding into one perfectly baubled storm. And with everything on Instagram and the TV looking as perfect as that (unrealistic) Christmas Day magazine shoot, there’s the added pressure to feel festive and happy even if you just want to lie down in bed and go to sleep until 2019. So, how do you navigate the Festive Season without going mad?
I honestly love the build-up to Christmas, far more in fact than the actual day, but – and it’s a big but – it’s also pretty stressful. As well as the (self-inflicted) pressure to make it magical for my 4 children, I also have 5 godchildren to think about as well as a husband, family, 2 nephews and 4 nieces to buy for. Friends? Don’t make me laugh, I’m nearly bankrupt as it is…. It’s also the busiest time of year for my shop, meaning I’m up packing orders at 5am before heading to school, where the fun and games continue with various school fairs, plays, carol services, nights out to attend/organise/buy for etc etc. Despite being someone who harbours zero reservations about buying cakes for the cake sale and costumes from Sainsbury’s for the plays, it’s still a lot to juggle and – dare I say it – a massive pain in the arse. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way – even though I don’t have the added nightmare of tricky family dynamics to contend with. But, I want to enjoy the festive season. In fact, I long to enjoy it! To unpop another bottle of champagne, whack on a bit of Buble and loll on the sofa in a mince pie coma…..so how to make Christmas more festive and less of a massive headache? Here’s what I’m thinking….
- Ditch Instagram
If all those perfect pictures of perfect people with their perfect trees are getting you down, then unfollow them. If you have a sordid desire to have your buttons pressed in that way, then make sure you PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE after 8pm. You don’t need to be scrolling through feeds of people you don’t know whilst lying in bed, you really don’t. I never take my phone into the bedroom and whilst I sometimes forget to turn it off at 8pm, life always feels better when I do. Also, remember people only ever post their best picture. They also lie. It’s not real life…..
2. Ditch obligations you don’t need to fulfill
So, the nativity play you probably should attend, but decorating a sweetie jar and filling it with sweets or baking a cake for the PTA’s fair, not so much. I might not be popular for saying this, but I have two jobs and a family, and zero time for myself, my husband or my friends, so the school fair will have to do without my beautifully decorated sweetie envelope this year. I think it’ll cope.
3. Don’t feel pressured into doing what everyone else wants you to do…
So, this is a tricky one as I don’t feel you can be 100% selfish at Christmas, but I do feel you have to have balance. You should make time to see family over the festive season, BUT don’t feel pressured into driving all over the country to see random relatives and exhausting yourself in the process. Make sure you have enough downtime to recharge and don’t feel bad about saying no – just make sure you occasionally say ‘yes’ as well.
4. Don’t feel pressured into spending too much money
It’s very easy to go wild with the spending over Christmas, but you really don’t have to. Partners don’t need grand gestures, kids don’t need top-of-the-range gear and you really don’t have to buy presents for friends. In fact, I’d say don’t buy presents for friends as it can make them feel guilty for not being able to reciprocate (it does me). If you have the money and want to spend it, perhaps give to charity in someone’s name instead?
5. Treat yourself like a finely-tuned sports car
Want to survive the festive season intact, then make sure you are in tip-top condition. Early nights when not going out, vitamins, protein-packed smoothies, face oil, fake tan, no booze when at home…..these are all things that’ll stop you feeling and looking horrendous by the time January rolls around. Try and exercise if you can. Be kind to yourself. If you spend too much money, snap at someone, only decorate half the Christmas tree, it’s OK, you can sort it. Life isn’t perfect, and Christmas doesn’t have to be either. Oh and if you do get carried away and drink FAR too much on your school mums’ night out (as I plan to do this Thursday haha), don’t beat yourself up the next day. Guilt is a useless emotion….. Here’s what i’m currently taking to combat the festive stress…
These little sachets are packed full of Vitamin C. Just throw one in a glass of water and give your morning a boost. I’ve been taking this for a week now and psychologically am really glad I do. Hello Day also make a brilliant ‘Winter Box’ of supplements tailored specifically for the season. I think I might have to invest…
Wild Nutrition is an amazing food-grown range of supplements created by genius nutritionist Henrietta Norton. Containing 500mg of ashwagandha root with Food-Grown® Magnesium, this supplement is designed to support the body through challenging times. Sounds pretty good for Christmas, right?
Echinacea is meant to fight off colds if you take it at the first sign of the sniffle. There’s so much going around at this time of year, that I’m taking some whenever I remember. These teas by Pukka are on my shopping list.
It’s a sad fact of life that I look rough during the Winter. My skin goes pale and grey with delightful red patches around my nose, and I look about 102. This year to save me from tears (see what I did there) I’m going to channel the spirit of a Strictly pro and start using fake tan on a regular basis. I’ve heard VERY good things about these tanning drops from Balance Me and am starting tonight. Will report back!
I don’t often have a bath, but when I do, I like it hot and with a good few drops of Aromatherapy Associates’ Deep Relax bath oil in it. Nothing has ever touched it for sending me into a deeply zoned out state. It really is the best….
Another surefire way to send you off to sleep is 15 minutes with a Spacemask. These genius masks heat up once the packet is opened and feel not unlike a hot bottle for the eyes. Just the fact that you’re made to lie still with your eyes closed is enough, but add in the warm cosy feeling on tired eyes, and you will find it hard not to fall asleep…..