Dear Reader, I hope you don’t think this is a negative post, it really isn’t meant to be, I hope if you take the time to read it, you will get to the end and realise it’s actually a very positive post. But to understand how to get to the positive bit, we must start with the negative.
I’m aware that all the Christmas adverts have started on TV and they depict wonderful family Christmases; all the family sat round the table, everyone wearing a festive jumper and a smile.
There is no advert that depicts a working mother having a nervous breakdown in the bathroom in mid-December because her usual unbearably large “To Do” list becomes utterly unmanageable and overwhelming at this time of year, and as a result she is a heaving mass of tears, snot, guilt, fear and anxiety. Who wants to watch that advert? No-one, but it’s the reality for plenty of us.
But the thing is, this time of year can just be too much. I TOTALLY want to love the lead up to Christmas, I want to sip mulled wine whilst happily wrapping presents that I’ve spent hours thoughtfully choosing. But without going into massive detail, being a self-employed working mum, wife and elderly dog-owner has meant for the past couple of years, November and December have not been good for me
But as September this year loomed, I told myself that I would not break this festive season, I would enjoy it, but in order to enjoy it I had to change some stuff. There are several things I’ve done, and I would like to share 8 of them in the hope that, if you are having a difficult time, you can dip into this and find something that helps you, so that come the 25th December, you too will be wearing a hideous Christmas jumper and a smile. So here goes:
1. I started meditation/mindfulness classes – please don’t think this is just for hippies to sit around sniffing joss sticks with their legs crossed and their eyes closed. This is a very accessible way to calm your mind, and as a result, tackle the rest of your busy life with a bit more clarity. I found the most amazing class here in Cheshire (Yoga Cloud), but if you google mindfulness classes or something similar, I hope you will find a good local one to go to.
2. I have tried to plan ahead; I thought about the things I dreaded and tried to make them easier and more manageable, instead of leaving everything to the last minute and burying my head in the sand. So I started doing a bit of early Christmas Shopping, I’ve started my tax return (a major source of stress for the self-employed), I am doing stuff as I think of it, or at least writing it on my “to do” list instead of letting it constantly buzz round my head, driving me crazy.
3. I thought about the way I talk to my children when they are worried or sad, and I am trying to talk to myself in the same kind and measured way. For example, if my little girl can’t sleep, I will calm her, I will roll on some Sleep Roller Remedy on her wrists, we will think about something nice to concentrate on. If I can find the kindness and patience to talk to my children nicely, why can’t I speak to myself nicely, instead of constantly berating myself for being scruffy, late, distracted, tired, forgetful, etc.?
So for example, I forget to order lids for my face oil product, my old inner-dialogue would be, “you are such an idiot, how could you forget, now you have to place another order, what a waste of time.” But my new way is to say to myself, “OK, you forgot the lids, it’s not the end of the world, just place another order, never mind, you remembered everything else.” Please try this for yourself: forgive yourself if something isn’t great (stop feeling guilty), and congratulate yourself if something is good.
4. Bach’s Flower Remedy “Rescue Remedy” is a great thing to have to hand for moments when you seriously feel like the sky is falling in on you. Buy this at virtually any high-street chemist or health food type shop.
5. I am saying “No” to things I don’t need to do; why add more stuff to your “To Do” list if you can avoid it? Just say no really nicely but be firm and clear. And don’t apologise.
6. I have tried to go to bed a little earlier; tiredness makes everything worse. So if there is nothing on TV, run yourself a gorgeous bath (add some essential oils, my Release Blend is perfect) and enjoy a warm bath and an early night. Reading a book can also add a great deal of pleasure to this equation. Apparently, people who read lots of fiction are calmer and more content. There is nothing like losing yourself in a good book. Spend ten minutes less on social media and use that time to read. And whilst you are reading in this gorgeous bath, have a cup of Clipper “Sleep Easy Tea”, it contains chamomile and valerian root, a sure-fire way to really knock those horrible stressy feelings on the head.
7. Whilst on the subject of hot drinks, I’ve completely stopped drinking caffeinated coffee – caffeine (and sugar) make those palpitations soooo much worse. I’ve found some very gorgeous decaff coffee and I’m getting used to Green Tea and Yogi Tea, both so calming. And I’m doing my best to stay super-hydrated in general; good for skin, tiredness, and feelings of anxiety. I can absolutely promise you that if you are tired, drinking a pint of water will wake you up more than a coffee.
8. I’ve upped my Vitamin D supplement considerably. There is a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. And when the sun is out, I go out and lift my face to it. It does something positive to your brain. There are quite a few supplements that help you deal with stress. I get all my supplements for Nutri, if in doubt, ring them up, explain your situation and they’ll find the best supplement to suit you, they’re all qualified nutritionists. I’ve had one called Compose which I’m pretty sure helps a lot, it allows you to manage your stress levels in a more normal way.
Now I’m not saying I’ve got all this sorted. I know I’m still up against, this is my busiest time of year by a mile for work and family life, but I’m hoping that this year I can enjoy it a little more and stress a little less. Some people feel the pressure more than others, if you are one of them (like me), then don’t be hard on yourself. I have lots of really lovely things in my life to appreciate, a wonderful husband and delightful children, loving parents and brother, a collection of hilarious small furry creatures and a successful business, so I’m focusing on them. Try to do the same with the good things in your life.
Please let me know if you’ve found this helpful, and also feel free to add any tips of your own in the comments below.
I think the moral of the story is that we are not perfect, and if we accept out imperfections and are kinder to ourselves, we should survive Christmas. Thanks for reading xx