How to Be Good to Yourself This Christmas
“The people I admire are not those with the highest net worth, but those who find time to be present in all areas of their lives and invest time in stuff beyond their own professional status. You have to make peace with your ego to do so, and that’s a much greater challenge than slamming through some crazy to-do list, day after day.” - Phoebe Lovatt, Miss Bish Interview.
We’re only 5 days into December and I’ve already drunk 8 varieties of hot chocolate courtesy of Costa and Starbucks, started shopping for one-too-many sequin party outfits and decorated the flat with an unforgivable amount of tinsel. Christmas come at me! This is without a doubt my most favourite time of year. I get so hyped for mulled wine, turkey, cranberry sauce, Christmas movies, choir hymns, decorating the tree - if there was a Head Elf position, Santa would be employing me, for sure. However, wearing reindeer covered PJs and watching My Fair Lady whilst wrapping presents aren’t my only festive period traditions. Getting sick and fatigued during the buildup to the actual holy day is a given every year for me, a result of financial stress and the pressure of looming deadlines.
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that women in particular report an increase of stress over the holiday season and as such, find it harder to relax, overindulging in food and drink to cope. Not only that but generally people felt increasing pressure to manage their workloads in order to get everything done by the Christmas break, in order to spend enough time with their families. I’m sure we can all relate but while we agree that the holidays can leave us drained, taking care of ourselves is the last thing on our minds. Depending on how you deal with stress, these extra responsibilities can impact both your body and mind, as we females try to be everything to everyone. I don’t want to repeat the same pattern this year, so am planning on addressing some of my own Christmas bad habits by being proactive in tackling them head-on. I’m dubbing December my ‘Be Good to Yourself’ month - a little reminder to us all that looking after ourselves is just as important as being there for others. Winter blues, be gone!
MANAGING UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
I was already conscious about achieving all my end of year goals back in November when I decided to get my shit together, knuckle down and focus on my work. Thankfully, I got everything I planned done but I can’t lie, it was hard. I uploaded 12 pieces of content onto the blog - my most ever - which I’m super proud of but it took an incredible amount of organisation and efficiency to complete. This month, I’ve got the same amount of content to produce in less time, because obviously, I want to have a proper break over Christmas.
On top of that, I’m working on 2 new projects for the start of the year (hello overachiever), so my workload is immense right now. I become irritable at the slightest glimmer of a blip in my plan because having people cancelling on me or change scheduling - a norm for everyone - has really turned the heat up on my stress levels. My emotions are on high alert and so naturally affecting my sleeping and eating patterns, which ultimately further adds to my bad mood.
I’ve had to stop and reassess my capabilities before I drove myself up the wall trying to complete everything I had planned for myself and my clients. As such, I’ve let go of some projects, rejigged some parts of my content calendar and pushed back seeing some friends to the New Year. At first, I felt bad - I’m not great at letting other people down - but then I reminded myself that the end of the year doesn’t mean the end of everything. Life and work will continue in 2018 and so, by understanding your limits you can stay a little saner during one of the most stressful dates in our calendars.
THE END OF YEAR BLUES
Talking about next year, anxiety and perfectionism - my longtime fake friends - have reared their ugly heads again, as we approach the beginning of 2018. Maybe it’s the darker days that are making me feel pessimistic or the money woes that are freaking me out, but yet again, I’m starting to overthink all aspects of my life. The new year naturally instils a bout of reflection in us all but if you don’t manage it correctly, that can quickly turn into rumination about shortcomings. I can feel on top of the world one minute and the next I’m questioning all my life choices. I’m trying to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, looking forward to creating new goals rather than fixating on the ones that didn’t go to plan this year but honestly, it’s a work in progress. I’m taking it one step at a time and reminding myself of what I’m passionate about. We’ll deal with the rest next year!
So yes, the holidays can be a magical time but it can also be difficult to manage the expectations we have of ourselves, as well as those we believe others have of us. Some people feel lonely this time of year, while others struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety. I don’t have the solutions but I do believe that being a little kinder to each other and ourselves can make Christmas feel like the most wonderful time of year again. Looking after yourself isn’t selfish, it’s a necessity to survive the holidays. That doesn’t necessarily mean bubble baths and luxury spa days. It can be as simple and streamlining your workload, keeping on top of your usual routine, saying no a little more often and generally just protecting yourself.
There’ll be more talk about this topic throughout the month - from both myself and some other 'Experts' - looking at different methods of self-care and work/life balance. So check back soon, let me know any particular areas to focus on and the ways you’re planning to be good to yourself this Christmas.