Well, it's the start of December and even as I write this, my hubs has burst into a spontaneous Christmas song! The big run up to Christmas has already started this year - Christmas songs on the radio, Christmas trees started going up last weekend, etc. If you've not already started, the big run to the Christmas festivities begins now - putting the tree and decorations up, buying and wrapping presents, writing and sending cards, plans for Christmas Day and New Years Eve ...
Now I know that not everybody loves Christmas - and I can imaging that that could be very frustrating given that it takes over every aspect of society for a month of the year.
I love Christmas. And because of this, I want it to be a memorable time of year for the right reasons (more about that later!). However, let's not forget, all this busyness is on top of all the things that we already fit in to everyday life. Is it any wonder that, no matter how much we enjoy it, Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year? So how do we look after ourselves at this time of year?
1. Be realistic
What's realistic for you to achieve this year? Knowing this in advance makes it easier to spot the signs of when things are getting a bit much. I can be a bit of a numpty in this regard as I can get carried away in the whole Christmas Spirit! Each year I get a bit more creative about how to make this Christmas memorable and special. I know I can only do this by being organised and by admitting defeat when I know that something just isn't going to happen. For me, this is usually about Christmas cards not being sent (errr, why do I already feel the need to apologise?)
2. Letting it go
We've all heard of (and maybe met) a Bridezilla - the bride-to-be who turns into a controlling beast about every aspect of the big day. Well, do you know a Xmaszilla?
Confession time??? This might have been me a few years ago. No, that's not true - this would definitely have described me. And for a while it worked well and I enjoyed it - but then it didn't and I realised I was making Christmas harder, not easier. I had to ask myself, "Does it really matter if the tree and the wrapping paper and the crackers and the napkins on the dinner table don't all match exactly?"
If you're driving yourself crackers with something similar, can you ask yourself a challenging question - "Does it really matter if ...?" You might be surprised by your own answers.
3. Give yourself a pat on the back
As we established at the beginning, whether you are 'doing Christmas' or not, there is a lot to contend with and it's easy to get stuck in 'Do Mode' just to make it to January. Neuroscientists have shown that as we get more task focused, we actually lose the ability to empathise. And that isn't just with those around us; it's with ourselves as well. Remember, you are your own greatest resource and best source of feedback so whether its daily, weekly or when it's all over and done with for another year, celebrate your huge achievement.
So this is really what works for me - and, by 'eck, it's taken me ages to work it out! I wonder what works for you.