Take time for yourself this Christmas
Well it’s Christmas week. Yay!
Maybe you are already at home or will be travelling home in the next few days. With all the gift-buying, socialising and general hustle and bustle that Christmas week brings, your mind-set can easily spiral, leaving you tired and stressed. It’s important to look after yourself over the holidays. There is no worse feeling than heading back to work in January and being completely run down. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you have a mindful Christmas and hit January with the right mind-set!
1) Keep a gratitude journal – This doesn’t have to be a big fancy thing, it can be as simple as using the notes app on your phone and updating it every night as you brush your teeth. Why keep a gratitude journal? Well while it might be a blessing that you are surrounded by family at Christmas, it can also cause a great deal of stress! If you spend a couple of minutes putting together a list of things you are grateful for this can help you stay calm and more positive when dealing with stressful situations.
For example, if you have a brother who really grates on you over Christmas, maybe spend ten minutes thinking of times when you got on really well, even if it was when you were children. Just remembering happier times and writing them down will help you deal with any issues you have with your brother in the present day. Or maybe you didn’t get a gift you really wanted? Write down all the little nice items you got throughout the entire year. This will put into perspective all the blessings you have, not just at Christmas.
2) Change traditions – Sometimes we blindly follow a tradition at Christmas…well just because it is Christmas! For example, maybe you bought gifts for all your siblings, but now you have to buy for siblings, partners and spouses, nieces and nephews. What started out as a quaint tradition now needs military precision to handle! Maybe this year suggest that this gift-giving is scaled down to a manageable tradition again. Suggest a Kris-Kindle or maybe instead of everyone buying something, donate all that money to a chosen charity.
3) Everything doesn’t need to be perfect! – At Christmas time we seem to think everything needs to look like it’s right out of a movie. How perfectly the tree is decorated, how elegantly the wrapping needs to be on all the gifts, how extravagant the Christmas dinner will be. But in reality – the tree lights will be all tangled up in one another, there will be an hour-long queue into the shopping centre when you go to buy gifts and the turkey will be too big to fit in your oven!
You could let these obstacles stress you. Spend much of your Christmas trying to make everything perfect but instead spoiling it for others on your impossible quest. Or you could just stop right now, and say ‘I do not need perfection!’ Will anyone really remember if you used double sided sellotape to wrap your presents so they look perfect or will they remember you sitting back and reminiscing about past Christmases. Every time you say yes to your quest for perfection, remember you are saying no to just enjoying the moment and the holidays.
4) Take time for you – I know with all the demands of Christmas it can be difficult to get alone time that you can truly enjoy. But maybe instead of getting unwanted gifts from loved ones, ask them to give you an hours or even a day where you can get away from it all. You don’t want to face into January suffering from exhaustion! You need to recharge your batteries and that starts by being compassionate to yourself and allowing you to step away from everyone’s demands. This is not a selfish act. This is an act of self-preservation that allows your mind the quietness it craves. If you are rested, you have a greater capacity to care for both yourself and others.