1. To Do Lists Are Your Friends – When feeling like there’s a lot to do and not sure where to start, I find it helps to list out what needs to be done. This isn’t just for Christmas stuff, either. What to buy, who to write cards for, what appointments need to be made, prescriptions that need to be ordered etc.
2. Check Your Meds – Order early and make sure you don’t run out of anything over the Christmas period. Know who you can contact if you need help and when they are available.
3. Learn To Say No – Sometimes you just have to do what’s right for you, and sometimes that means saying ‘no’ to certain commitments and requests. If you’re not up for going out or doing something, don’t feel pressured in to it. Explain as much or as little as you feel comfortable with; others aren’t mind readers about your physical or mental health and how they affect you, and it’s sad but true that some may not understand or make you feel guilty for ‘bailing’ on an event. Be strong and stick to your instincts so that you look after yourself and avoid unnecessary stress or burn out.
4. If eating out of home, get an idea of the menu or make your friends/family aware of any dietary requirements you have so that’s one less thing to stress about.
5. Have some “me” time – Recharge, destress, work through what you’re feeling. Even if it’s just a 10 minute break with a cup of tea, a power nap, a walk, or 30 minutes with a good book.
6. Plan Ahead – Consider what days things need to be done by and what you can reasonably manage. For instance, the last day for ordering gifts online, when to do your main grocery shop, the last day for posting cards and when to wrap your gifts. This should avoid some of the last minute stress and worry.
7. Just Breathe!
8. Look After Yourself – You know the drill! Eat well, get enough sleep, rest when your body tells you it needs it, get plenty of water, moisturise, get a short walk in each day or some gentle stretches.
9. Clear Your Living Space – Take stock of what needs to be done and clear the space to do it. A spare cupboard for Christmas nibbles, a clear table for writing your Christmas cards, room in the fridge, wardrobe space for gifts. Declutter, change your sheets, vacuum. Tidy up your space to help tidy your mind, as it really can help.
10. Get Some Perspective – What does Christmas mean to you? We can get so caught up in social expectations and consumerism that we lose sight of what’s important. It is a time to celebrate the good things and appreciate what we have. It’s about spending time with friends and / or family and those we love. It’s about looking forward to the future with hope.
But it’s not all glittering and rosy. For many of us, the year may have been fraught with struggles and ill health or tragedy. We may not be getting jazzed up for Christmas parties. We may not have a partner to spend the big day with, friends to see, or oodles of gifts to open. The whole ‘FOMO’ thing can become suffocating, especially if you’re on social media and seeing the painted pictures of Christmas perfection others seem to be (but are likely not) living. If you are finding yourself anxious, depressed or lonely, please seek help or turn to someone who can listen. Don’t struggle feeling as though you are alone.
Link to the Samaritans who are available 24/7, 365 days a year.