Don’t let the Christmas jollies get you down – here are five ways to enjoy the silly season for a more mindful Christmas.
As we begin the countdown to Christmas, the stress of the season starts to kick in. now is the time to start taking stock of both your physical and mental health.
For the record, I am not a mental or physical health specialist. However, I have learned over the years how to manage my stress a little better, how to deal with Christmas better, and most of all, how to take stock of both my physical and mental wellbeing over the craziest time of the year and be more mindful.
Christmas as a kid was always a stressful time for me, having been raised in a single parent household, meant that most Christmas days were spent in a car travelling from one family event to another – it was exhausting, especially in the hot weather, and tiring, and the buzz of Christmas day was slowly stripped from being joyful to overwhelming. By the time I got to my twenties, I had had enough of it all.
I woke one Christmas morning, and told my mum I was done. I was spending Christmas Day at home, alone. Just me, a bowl of cereal and whatever movie or tv show I wanted to binge on. Of course, this was a while back now, so I was reliant on recorded shows on VHS and any DVDs we owned. No Netflix or Youtube Movies available then.
Honestly, it was the best Christmas Day I had in a very long time, as I got to do what I wanted and didn’t spend the day in a car going from one family to another.
Of course, it was the last time I ever had a Christmas Day like that, alone. But it was the first of many, where I changed the way I felt about Christmas Day and how I managed it.
Since then, Christmas Day became just another day. And Christmas Eve became a thing. But what does that mean you ask? Well it means, I have learned to manage friends and family better when it comes to one of the busiest times of the year. It also means, that sometimes I need to say no to people, and if I do want to spend time with them, then we arrange something earlier on in the month, or even in January.
As I said, Christmas Day is just a day after all. And there is no rule book that says you must catch up with everyone on Christmas Day.
Here are five easy ways to manage the festive season better, so you can have a more mindful Christmas.
Step 1: Start catching up with friends and family now
There is no rulebook that says you have to catch up with everyone in December, and close to Christmas. Start spacing out your catch ups, and set up some time now to catch up with people. Truth is, a lot of people (family and friends) will appreciate the effort to catch up earlier, as they too start to get very busy with catch up requests and other events, and so alleviating that stress to catch up with you will help them out as well.
Step 2: Keep up with your fitness routine
Yes, The holiday season is a time for rest. But it’s also a time to keep your body and mind in check. And exercise is the best time to do that. Whether you favour yoga over the gym or running, or the other way around, whatever exercise you do to help you manage stress, anxiety, and stay fit and healthy, keep up a good routine, or try something new to keep you going through the silly season.
Step 3: Start a new hobby like drawing, painting or another craft
Don’t wait to start your holiday break, start now with a new hobby. Too many people use the saying, in the new year, or after Christmas, or next year, and hardly ever start that new project or hobby they want to do. So start now. Find some time and space to get creative, or start whatever project or hobby you have been thinking and talking about for a while now, and get going with it. This will help you manage stress and anxiety better as the silly season kicks off, as you will find time for yourself to take rest and think.
Step 4: Rethink how you buy Christmas presents for loved ones
Instead of shopping for new gifts, and spending ridiculous money on presents that may or may not be liked, loved or even used. Try something new and create more mindful gifts for your loved ones. Either make it from scratch, like some art, a candle, or something else you made. Or try looking for gifts where funds go to organisations like animal care funds for the shelters, or even the women’s shelter. Or hit up your local charity shop for recycled gifts you know your family will love.
Step 5: Volunteer at a local shelter or church for Christmas
Spread some Christmas cheer by helping out at a local animal shelter, or homeless shelter. Shelters of any sort this time of the year are inundated, and need a lot of help from people to help support them with animals and with people. Find a group who help serve food at a local church, to the homeless and start helping out now as the silly season approaches. Don’t wait until last minute as spots do fill quickly and then you won’t be needed (maybe) as Christmas day approaches.