It's the most wonderful time of the year…mostly.
There's no doubt it's a magical time of year but it's also when your diary starts filling up at an alarming rate, you're panicking about seeing everyone, and trying to fit in present buying, wrapping, and generally being the best, most organised, and kindest person you can be. And that’s just a normal December!
This year the holidays are looking a little different, with many places seeing strict rules about socialising indoors but while it might look different, it’s no less busy! There are still outdoor meets, doorstep visits and Zoom Christmas parties being organised, as well as a combination of visiting local stores for presents in order to keep the High Street alive and hunting down lovely indie online shops to buy gifts from.
But in all the hustle and bustle, there’s one thing you need to ask yourself:
Are you remembering to be kind to yourself?
I love Christmas and everything that comes along with it but among the catch-ups, the gift-buying and the organising, it also doesn't take long for me to get burnt out and need some time alone. I start to crave being at home with some quiet music playing, a couple of candles burning, and a pen and paper. Of course, tis the season of love and giving, but that doesn't mean you should forget yourself and what you need! We put so much pressure on ourselves to give amazing gifts, throw the perfect party and be constantly jolly this time of year, and so many of us end up really stressed out and unable to enjoy it.
Here are a few ways to avoid Christmas/holiday overwhelm:
Schedule in some me-time.
If it's possible, schedule in a little time to relax by yourself every few days. Quiet time is incredibly important to quell the overwhelm, especially if you're a bit of an introvert. I'm already eyeing up a few hours here and there over the coming weeks that I'm hoping to keep for myself, not saying yes to every single invitation, and keeping at least a couple of evenings completely free, making sure I don’t even do any wrapping or card writing.
Find your perfect relaxation.
My ideal way to spend an evening alone always involves candles, one of my favourite relaxing playlists, and something other than my screen to occupy me - whether that be reading, writing, gardening or drawing - though it can be so very difficult not to succumb to the lure of my phone.
Write it down.
I've been finding it really helpful to sit and write down how I'm feeling whenever I start noticing that overwhelm bubbling up. Using one of our Ponderlily Journals, I just write and write every tiny thing that is on my mind, and I feel so much better to have it out of my head and slightly more in order. It's an exercise I come back to every now and then, when everything feels like it's speeding up.
Make a list.
Are you making a list, and checking it twice? No, not a naughty/nice list. The other kind of list. Simply the act of writing down things that need to get done can stop the thoughts swimming around in your head. You also might notice a few things on there which aren’t necessarily essential, or that you can delegate to someone else. It’s not all on you.
Break it down.
To stop the stressful feelings, I also try to break to do lists down into really manageable tasks, and focus on the good, calm things I'm looking forward to - things like sitting by the log fire at my mum's place with a drink, baking gingerbread, taking time to write heartfelt cards. All of these conjure up relaxing images in my head and help me to really look forward to the season.
Being kind to ourselves is not only in service of our mind and body, it can actually make us more productive and I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that wouldn’t love to be more productive over the holiday season!
How do you find calm during this time of year?