By Samar Khan
Articles that indulge in this mistletoe season only seem to emphasise the warmth of its presence; family time, present-wrapping and, of course, Christmas hits in the car on the way to collect your beloved tree. However, we hardly openly discuss the difficulties and stresses that make themselves particularly known during the Christmas period. Family bickering, running out of wrapping paper for the very last gift, and suddenly discovering that your tree is too large for your car boot.
Christmas, despite all its wonders, is probably the most stressful holiday there is. So today, we’re giving you some self-care tips to make this years’ experience easier – particularly in light of the pandemic and its effects on gathering.
- Order gifts online
Though the pandemic seems as though it is slowly improving, the rush for Christmas shopping in person (particularly in London) is simply not a safe bet. A thousand hands are touching the same products, and queue proximities is further risky on your shopping pursuits. Black Friday saw a dramatic success in online shopping rates due to the economic push for far lower RRP in products. These sales and price drops have continued throughout November and December, particularly online. We know how much of a pain paying for shipping costs can be – but prices of products are so dramatically low that your payment is still far less than in-store shopping could have been, and this comes with obvious health risks anyway.
However, keep the brands you buy from at the forefront of your mind. It is a fantastic idea to support small businesses that require your financial investment, or companies that buy and sell in an ethical and sustainable manner. The surge of buying during this period will be overwhelming for namely companies that source their products in corrupt manners – remember to be part of the change. Aside from all the above, ordering online is simply much easier for your comfort and ability to focus on other parts of Christmas preparation.
- Be clear about invites
It has been announced that our Christmas will commence in a relatively normal manner with family gathering due to the introduction of the vaccine and other safety precaution. However, we all have that family trajectory that can cause a little bit more stress than everyone else. This problem of awkwardness can be at an all-time high in the stress of this month. The key to focusing on your loved ones is making attendance and meet ups as clear-cut as possible.
We know how uncomfortable it can be when someone assumes, they were invited or come as a +1 (even though you never allowed +1s). You don’t want to distract your own (or your family’s) enjoyment on this special time of the year – so make your demands clear to declutter your headspace. In addition, larger gatherings with people you aren’t particularly close with can be extremely emotionally draining for long periods of time – you feel as though you have to narrate every recent experience you’ve had and do the run-down of your preparation. Keep it loving and fun.
At the end of the day, this is a time for those you feel the most joy around, and this should be your priority of organisation; because after all, what are the gifts and food without your friends and family?
- Remember breaks
Preparing for Christmas involves prioritising everyone else’s needs above yours. Financial investments that are outrageous compared to normal spending habits, buying particular foods because you know it’s their favourite, and long nights of card writing. Note that nearly all of the preparation is physically demanding. At The Positive Company, we put extra emphasis on the need for physical accommodation in periods of stress. Amid all the fun and stress-induced activities you complete, you must remember to take breaks. We understand that it only comes once a year; but health is first and foremost.
If you are interested, you could try Christmas themes self-care methods: make your own ginger latte, casually bake with your friends or family, have a Christmas movie night with some X-mas themed face masks and pyjamas and decorating the tree with some Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Your methods don’t involve shutting off Christmas – just enjoying them in relaxing, fun ways.
- Hot baths and crisp Christmas walks
Baby, it’s cold outside! Daily walks regardless of the month are fundamental to mental health and general wellbeing; they genuinely help you clear your head and allow you to distract yourself from current activities. At the same time, the weather has dropped drastically in the past few weeks, and its colder than ever. Although walks are extremely helpful and enjoyable, the cold means that you have to accommodate your body temperature in the right ways – to settle stresses and physical tension.
Hot steamy baths with essential oil during this season can be the best, or having hot water bottles in bed are a hack. Why not try natural Ella Organics Body oil or Wheat Pillow from Blasta Henriet! This will help the cosy, warm Christmas feel, but also ensure that your body adjusts to a comfortable temperature.
- Spread your duties out across a few weeks
Don’t burden yourself with all of your Christmas duties a few days before the celebrations begin. This can be way too complex for your organisation, and means that you tend to leave out important features of the event. Make a long list of most important and least important duties you have to complete this month. Doing this a few weeks before Christmas is particularly helpful because you are in the correct headspace to contemplate and not rush for ideas or remembering certain tasks. You could colour code these from most to least important, or if you are super organised, put dates next to each one for adherence in the next coming weeks. Remember, you’ve got this!
- Remember gratitude, giving, and allow yourself joy
As I reiterated earlier, what is the material element of Christmas without the spirit, love and joy behind its celebration? This seasonal celebration is all about love, giving and gratitude; three things you shouldn’t forget. In correlation with this, you must allow yourself to receive (gifts, love and company!). Imposter syndrome’s can lead you to ignoring your successful preparations (because we all want our work to look gracefully effortless), but the truth is, you are deserving of praise for all your hard focus!
Enjoy this, and remember the relationships you treasure first and foremost. And most importantly, have a great Christmas!