9 CHRISTMAS SELF-CARE TIPS FOR LESS STRESS AND MORE PEACE
Christmas can be fun, festive and full of meaning but sometimes it brings extra challenges that can leave us struggling. Here are 9 Christmas self-care tips for less stress and more peace. They’ll help you look after yourself whilst you’re also busy looking after everyone else!
MIXED EMOTIONS AT CHRISTMAS
Christmas is a time of meaning and magic for many of us. Festive traditions, family time, eating too much and making the most of the seasonal cheer.
However, for many of us, Christmas isn’t always the joy-filled season that we often think it should be.
- It can be a time of clutter, chaos and noise. Our calendars and our brains are as full as our fridges, over-stuffed with festive activities, people to see and things to do.
- We feel forced to buy things we can’t afford because we don’t want to be scrooges or let our kids feel like they’re going without. So, we end up getting ourselves into debt, stressing ourselves in fear of missing out but worrying about how we’re going to pay off the debt when we’ve got the rest of the year to get through as well.
- Christmas is a time for family and enjoying each other’s company but for many of us it’s more a reminder of loved ones who can’t be with us.
- Sometimes we feel guilty for struggling when we should be appreciating how lucky we are. There are many people who don’t have a roof over their heads, food on the table, loved ones to see or remember, let alone presents under a Christmas tree.
All in all, Christmas comes with mixed emotions and it’s definitely not always the fairy-tale story book that many of us remember from childhood.
WHY I STRUGGLE WITH CHRISTMAS
I, for one, love Christmas but I’m afraid that getting through it is sometimes a different story.
- I’m an introvert and I love peace, quiet and calm. Yet, I have kids, step-kids, a job, relatives to see, friends to catch up with and many different things that pull me in every direction. Peace, quiet and calm is in short supply and I definitely feel more overwhelmed and stressed out because of it and my mental health bears the brunt.
- Christmas reminds me of loved ones no longer with us, my dad and my first-born daughter in particular. The merriment is tinged with sadness that I can’t share this happy time with them.
- I struggle with commercialisation and clutter. Not everyone in my family is an aspiring minimalist and it’s difficult for me to keep on top of all the extra stuff in my home, the presents to be bought, the expectations that I feel my family have and that we have different approaches to Christmas. Whilst I try for a simple, minimalist-style Christmas, many of my relatives go for the full-on Christmas with ALL the trimmings and sparkle!
For the rest of the year I still have kids and a full schedule. I still crave quiet time and of course, I still miss my dad and my daughter. Yet, the rest of the year is ok because I’ve developed routines and strategies that help me deal with these things and I’ve got enough wiggle room to let things slide if I’m feeling out-of-sorts.
At Christmas it’s full-on. Lots of stuff to do, think about, remember, places to be, people coming and going, excitement and expectation. It’s great but it can demand a lot from us.
I think it’s important to recognise that many of us are very lucky and we should be so grateful for having food, people and presents in our lives. Yet, it’s ok to admit that Christmas also throws up some challenges that sometimes we struggle to deal with.
So, here are 9 Christmas self-care tips that will help you look after yourself whilst you’re also busy looking after everyone else!
9 CHRISTMAS SELF-CARE TIPS FOR LESS STRESS AND MORE PEACE
1. Find some time for you each day
My number 1 tip out of all the tips to follow! I know that I’m a better person when I make a little bit of time for me each day. It’s not about luxury or being selfish. For me it’s about self-preservation and ensuring that I’m the best version of me that I can be for the people who love and need me.
When I don’t have that little bit of time for me, I get frustrated, angry, tired and resentful. That’s not fair on me or my kids so I’m doing us all a favour by just finding a few minutes for myself. This can be first thing in the morning (see the next point), in the evening after the kids are in bed, or even whilst they’re playing a game or watching TV. A few well-chosen minutes to myself means I can recharge and reset myself.
2. Keep up your morning routine
Structure is important for all of us, adults as well as kids. I find that if I keep up with my usual morning routine then my day goes better. The things I do in the first magic hour of the day set the tone for how I am the rest of the day.
Getting my mindset right, achieving things I want and need to before the rest of the house wakes up and spending a little time with just myself for company makes me feel ready for the day ahead. If I’m forced to skip my morning routine for any reason then I feel like I’m playing catch up for the rest of the day and I’m often grumpy and irritable because of it.
Choose what to include in a morning routine that works for you, be realistic about what you can achieve and try to keep it up as much as possible.
3. Listen to your body
You demand a lot of your body so listen to what it’s telling you. Don’t overindulge and end up regretting it. Make sure you rest if you’re tired, drink water if you’re dehydrated, find quiet if you’re feeling stressed out. Take plenty of exercise, check-in with your emotions and give yourself some grace and forgiveness if you’re being too hard on yourself or expecting too much. Call on help if you need it, arrange childcare if you can, be lazy if you want.
4. Maintain your household routines but forget about perfection
I love a clean and tidy house and with the help of my daily routines, that’s how my home is. But Christmas really puts this to the test!
I used to stress about the extra mess that’s caused by a house full of kids, mostly because I knew how long it would take me to get the house back into a state that I was happy with. It’s different now because I do a little bit of housework every day on rotation. The laundry is done daily and never gets a chance to build up.
My home might not be spotless, but it’s clean enough and full of fun. I know that it won’t take long to get it clean and tidy, no matter how many kids or visitors have trampled through and I feel on top of it without the need for a huge military-precision deep clean session.
5. Create a quiet space in the home
When the home is filled with kids and Christmas, it’s usually not the quiet and peaceful haven that I normally like it to be. And that’s fine, not everyone in my home is an introvert like me and our home has to work for all of us, not just me!
So, I find a compromise and try to create at least one quiet space in my home that I can hide or retreat to! Usually this is my bedroom because the kids are used to this being my space, rather than theirs. I keep it quiet, relaxing, uncluttered and I come here whenever I need to get away from the chaos in the rest of the house!
6. Plan and prepare in advance as much as possible
For me, there’s nothing more stressful than feeling like I’m out of control. We all have to fly by the seat of our pants from time to time, but I really don’t like not being organised. It wastes time, makes me unnecessarily stressed and I feel overwhelmed instead of filled with festive cheer.
Get organised for Christmas by planning and preparing in advance – everything from presents and your financial budget to the food and how you’re managing your diary.
7. Plan and focus for the New Year
I have to admit that, in a way, I breathe a sigh of relief sometimes when it comes to the New Year. I’m a routine-loving kind of girl and although I love being together at Christmas, it’s such a busy time for us mums and I need a holiday to get over the holiday!
So, one of the things I love to do is plan for the New Year. What word will become my word for the year, what plans do I want to make, what books do I want to read, what changes do I want to make, what new skills do I want to learn? I look forward to the planning in the knowledge that once we’re all back to the routine of school and work in the New Year that I’ll be ready to take action!
8. Declutter before Christmas
One of the things that I struggle with at Christmas is all the extra stuff that comes with it. There are more toys, more food and more presents. With more people comes more stuff, even if it’s just their coats and bags when they stop by to visit.
Make things so much easier by giving your home a declutter. Focus on the areas that are going to be working hard for you over Christmas like the living room, hallway, kitchen and so on. Think about how you can create some extra space for storing presents and food, even if it’s just a temporary solution. Perhaps even move some furniture around to create some extra space.
9. Take some daily exercise
This could be an excuse to get you out of the house if you need some quiet time too! Get your body moving and blood pumping with some physical activity. It could be running, walking, a trip to the park, swimming – whatever makes you feel good and gets those endorphins flowing. If you have the kids with you, grab a football and make it a fun time at the park. Sometimes we just need to feel some fresh air, get a little daylight and see further than the four walls of our home.
RESOURCES ON SELF-CARE AND LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
I hope you enjoyed this article and you found it helpful. Here are some other resources on self-care and taking care of yourself which you might like: