Spabreaks.com’s CRM & Email Marketing Executive, Laura Bowry-Prior talks about juggling work, home and school Whatsapp groups in the quest for a magical Christmas holiday.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year… kind of
I always think Christmas should be this magical, perfect festive time, but in truth, most of the time, the amount of stress and effort that goes into it all can make it overwhelming. By the 25th December last year, after a hectic month, a morning of watching the children unwrap presents and getting us all out the door to my sister’s house, I found myself falling asleep on my sister’s sofa while everyone else was enjoying the pre-dinner buzz. Not ideal, but I think ‘December burnout’ had finally got me.
Consider how busy the normal months of the year are, juggling work, cleaning, keeping up with the school apps and messages (there are three separate apps for each child!), karate, swimming club, squeezing in some exercise or seeing a friend etc. Then we add in all the December commitments on top; decorations, Elf on the Shelf (why did I start that?!) school fairs, nativities, work parties, children’s parties, Santa trips, pantomimes, gift buying and wrapping, food shopping and cooking, entertaining relatives and the rest… It’s really no wonder that most women (and some men, I’m sure) get to actual Christmas time feeling slightly bedraggled. We do it for our families, our kids and our loved ones of course… but does it really need to be this hectic?
With this in mind, this year, here’s five things I have vowed to do a little differently…
Just say ‘no’ (at least to some things this Christmas)
Instead of accepting every social invite that we receive as a family, I’m going to consider what else we have going on and decide if it is do-able. If it seems a squeeze on top of other arrangements, I am going to suggest a January date. Saying ‘no’ to a few things might actually mean the things we do attend are enjoyed much more. Plus, having social stuff to look forward to in January will be nice in a normally dreary month.
Add ‘down days’ into the Christmas calendar
In the same mindset as above, I am also going to sit with my December diary well ahead of time and build at least three days out of it which are put aside for ‘family chill’ time. That means, days where we can decide what to do on the day, whether it be Christmas films in our PJs, a brisk long walk with our wellies on, or a last-minute drink with a neighbour. Building in this time early means I am less likely to make the calendar so full that we are busy every day in December causing me panic.
Planning ahead for the festive season early
Ok, so this one is a hard one, but I am going to try and get the shopping/ wrapping/ cards/ food orders done early this year. December is naturally busier than other times, so I need to help myself and get some of the jobs off the list early so I can relax and enjoy the festivities with friends and family without the mental ‘to do’ list spoiling it.
Plan ‘me time’ in the Christmas period
I have learnt that I am a person who needs some time alone… most of us do in reality I think. It can be for whatever you want. I tend to use that time to exercise, hit some balls at the golf driving range, have a spa treatment, walk or enjoy a spa afternoon. Every Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, I get up before everyone else and head out for a walk or the gym, a swim and a coffee on my own. It’s a ritual I started when the children were small and it’s become a tradition now that I look forward to every year.
Accept Christmas is not going to be perfect and remember what’s really important
It’s such a cliché but the noise of Christmas can make us forget what is really important. My children will be just as happy in our local park with a hot chocolate as they will be visiting every Santa Claus in Sussex. Something will probably be forgotten - hopefully not the cranberry sauce - and someone will inevitably get a cold and feel grotty over the holidays. That’s life, and accepting it won’t run perfectly smoothly will lower my own expectations and in turn take the pressure off.
It's important to remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, to give everyone a great Christmas, we need to look after ourselves too.
Make space for a little ‘me time’