Here in Australia the summer and Christmas holidays can be a complete blur. All of the little kidlets are off of school and keeping you busier than you can possibly imagine. But on top off all of those trips to the air conditioned museum or to the local splash park, there’s also work. Then on top of work there is the shopping for gifts and planning for the big family holiday get together! Once December rolls around, there’s no stopping that sense of go-go-go. As much as you want to enjoy your family time and the holiday season, you start to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and maybe even a little resentful. That is no way to spend the holidays! To help you not just get through them but enjoy them, here is Pureman’s Holiday Survival Guide.
Acknowledge when you’re feeling overwhelmed
Sometimes we convince ourselves to just push through, that we’ll be able to rest in a week, in two weeks, at the end of the month. But the fact of the matter is that life continues on. When one period of craziness ends, another may well begin! You can never be too sure what’s around the corner so the first step you need to take is to acknowledge the fact that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Next, do something about it.
Take a moment to just be present
That insanely long week ahead that’s staring you in the face is bringing on that all too familiar sense of holiday dread. But it doesn’t have to. If you focus your mind on the present moment it can help you stay grounded. Whether it’s taking the time to look at each flower in the garden, to do some breathing exercises, go for a walk...when your mind wanders, bring it on back. Give yourself an allotment of time each day where you only focus on the present moment. It really will help centre you and ease that anxiety, even if only for a few moments. Check out this awesome article from Psychology Today for more great info on living in the present moment.
If you find yourself in a situation where your surroundings (whether it’s a chaotic shopping centre or a bunch of people at your family get together) feel like they’re doing your head in, don’t be afraid to step away. Literally. Excuse yourself from the conversation and go outside and get some fresh air, lock yourself in the bathroom, whatever it takes for you to regain your sanity.
Catch your Zzz
Sleep is the best. I love sleep. Crawling into bed is pretty much the coziest feeling ever and everyone should take advantage of it. Not to mention getting the proper amount of shuteye can make all the difference between a good day and one you’d just like to fast forward right through. 7 to 8 hours of sleep not only helps make you feel better, it helps you stay healthy and keeps your mind sharp, too. Healthline has a whole article about the plethora (I really wanted to use the word plethora) of reasons why the right amount of sleep is so important.
Make a list before bed
Sometimes catching those zzz can be difficult because you aren’t able to shut down that thinking machine in your head. One thing I find helps me turn off for shuteye is to write a list of what needs to be done the next day so I know I can wake up feeling prepared and ready to go, not scattered trying to sort out what to do next. So try making a to-do list before you hit the hay and see if it helps you get some better shut eye.
Do something just for you
Self love isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, mate. It’s real and it’s important. I understand that some people find the whole concept hokey, but if you don’t take care of yourself, how on earth are you going to take care of any of the other important things in your life? And how will you get through the holiday chaos without completely burning out? Don’t feel guilty for taking yourself out for a coffee or a brew. Go catch a movie, hit the beach for a couple of hours. Whatever rejuvenates you and helps you feel like your best self again, make time for it. No questions asked.
I must admit, I haven’t spent much time in a gym recently. The machines, treadmills and smell of sweating bodies just doesn’t do it for me. When it comes to exercise I’m all about enjoying the great outdoors for a run or a surf. I also love me some yoga. Yoga is an amazing way to stay fit and keep your mind a little bit more centred. Regardless of your exercise of choice, the point here is, make sure you are actually exercising regularly. Proper exercise releases all of those natural, happy hormones and will help keep you feeling strong, rested and ready to face whatever comes your way. Look, it isn’t a perfect cure all, but whatever stress you may find yourself under during the holidays, if you maintain your exercise regime I swear the stress will be a lot more manageable than if you just give it up for the holidays (as so many tend to do…). So get your sweat on before making that famous BBQ roast for the masses of family and friends you’re hosting this season!
Ask for help
For some reason, we as human beings are innately resistant to asking for help. We just suck at it. The majority of us would see ourselves completely flat out, crying into our beer wondering when the madness will ever end, before we’d pick up the phone to ask a friend for help. How ridiculous is that!? So before you anxiety cry into your pint of Carlton reach out to your friend and let them in on what’s got you stressed. Maybe your cousins dropped in unannounced for Christmas dinner. Maybe you don’t have time to pick up that gift you forgot to buy. Maybe you were given the task of baking dessert and you can’t bake. Whatever the case may be, the people that care for you are there to help. What else are friends for?
It’s ok to say ‘no’
A number of us have this little people pleasing, guilt throwing elf inside of us that just can’t seem to go away, no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. It sits there and judges you when you aren’t making people happy. If you let someone down, it does a little jig on your heart to remind you that you are not a kind person. Obviously, anytime you say no to someone it’s all they can think about for days on end and you’ve completely ruined their year. Maybe their life.
Does that seem excessive to you!?
That’s because it is! That elf is wrong! It is absolutely, 100% ok to say no, sometimes! You don’t have to go to every Christmas party you’re invited to. You don’t have to say yes to Secret Santa if it’s going to throw your budget. And guess what? The people you say no to will understand! If they don’t you probably don’t want to be buying them gifts and hanging out with them, anyway!
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and stress of the holidays, what needs to be done, who you need to visit...but the fact of the matter is the holidays are meant to be a time where you catch up with loved ones, enjoy their company and acknowledge the blessings you’ve had throughout the year. So when you’re feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, pause for a moment and remind yourself of all of the wonderful things in your life. Remind yourself how much you love your mum’s apple pie or how much you’ve missed your cousin’s ridiculous laugh. The holidays are a time when we can really take stock and appreciate the amazing people in our lives and the stories we have to share. We only get this life once. So take a deep breath, smile and enjoy the ride…