Ah Christmas, that special time of year where we slow down, contemplate the year that's past, give thanks, spend time with family, sing carols, eat turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy cheeky drinks with friends.
Are you looking forward to Christmas as we head into December, feeling calm and in control or are you starting to feel the pressure?
Do you want to create the perfect Christmas? It should be a magical time, full of wonderful memories and a time to enjoy well earned treats, shouldn't it?
But at what cost? You don't want to feel completely overwhelmed and reach Christmas Eve stressed out. You deserve to enjoy yourself too, to have a nice time and be present to enjoy time with loved ones.
You could try these ideas to help you stay in control and avoid feeling overwhelmed over the next few weeks.
- Stop! Doing more, faster and working late into the night may get you there eventually but it will burn you out in the process, making you stressed and taking the enjoyment out of it for you and your family. Make a little time to stop and take stock...
- Make quick lists of everything that is spinning around in your head - To do lists, people you want to give gifts to, Christmas card list, food shopping – get everything out of your head and on to paper (or your phone). Then let it go. You don’t need to remember everything now but won’t risk losing sight of all those important things. Now you don’t need to wake in the night worrying that you’ve missed something
- Breathe – take a moment to re-centre yourself. Find a quiet spot, sit and close your eyes. Take a few minutes to listen to your breathing (don't try to control it, just observe), calm your thoughts, watch them pass by you but don’t explore them. Keep bringing yourself back to your breathing and focus on how your body moves naturally as you breathe. Do this daily if you can, it will help ground you and bring clarity and calm to your busy mind
- Strategize – it may not be possible to do everything you would like to do in the time available and it will stress you out trying. Noone wants you to reach Christmas a frazzled mess so you need to be strategic. Think carefully about what is most important to you this Christmas – for example, it might be having a nice time with family, it might be focusing on your beliefs, or making time for community. Now go through your lists and prioritise. Pick out the things that align with what's most important and down-grade those that don’t - if you don't get to these it's ok (cross them off if you are really feeling ruthless!)
- Be efficient with your time – buy gift vouchers for experiences and treats that friends and family wouldn’t normally get for themselves, bulk bake biscuits or other treats – handmade goods are always special, send e-cards instead of physical cards or make a donation to charity instead of sending Christmas cards, give the gift of your time – what about a New years walk in a beautiful location
Less is more - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Remember, the best thing you can do when all feels overwhelming is stop for a moment. Refocus and think about what's important. You'll be much clearer on the priorities and feel more in control.
For that person who has everything - give the gift of calm space and more time.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays however you spend it!
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