Does anyone else feel that they are way behind with the Christmas preparations? I can’t even think about doing a post on a “Guide to Christmas Gifts” or a post on “What to wear on Christmas Day” until I’ve got my head around several other things first. That probably makes me a really bad blogger – or maybe some of you will know where I’m coming from!
I managed to get myself in a tizz recently: With a big new work project in addition to my existing work load, broken heating, a cold, dental work and a husband who has been unable to walk (or drive, or do anything around the house) for a week, it all felt as if everything was coming in on me.
Added to that (and how bad is it of me to admit this?) Christmas decorations stress me out. I love them but I spend all year trying to empty the house and then in the course of an afternoon we fill it with two box loads of additional “stuff”. Combine that with our usual family detritus and I’m ready to run out of the house screaming!
I realised over the weekend that I wasn’t enjoying anything about the Christmas preparations – and I was probably making it a bit miserable for everyone else too! How come others seem to find time to sit down and watch a Christmas movie on a Saturday afternoon, then order a takeaway and just veg? It’s not that I don’t love everything that I do, I just need more days in the week to do it in – something with which I’m sure you are all familiar.
So yesterday I worked on sorting myself out, employing strategies that I use in my business, to get things on track for Christmas. And here are my five top tips:
1 Get to know yourself and learn from your mistakes
I wrote an Instagram post on this and it seemed to resonate with many! Isn’t there a saying that the definition of an idiot is making the same mistakes over again? So how is it that every Christmas Eve I suddenly decide that I need to change all the bedding and the towels? Like Santa cares? And why do I fret that I don’t have a lovely door decoration? Just order it now woman (I would say that I would suggest trying to make one but that would be a waste of 3 hours and an utter disaster)! And what is it with overly well thought out colour schemes for trees and presents – nope, that can all be dispensed with in an instant. A little bit of “rustic” is fine. Learning from my mistakes, anticipating my crazy last minute whims and stopping them in their tracks is something that I’m definitely working on.
2 Brain dump
This is great if you have one of those brains that goes over and over things, particularly as you are falling to sleep. Any piece of paper will do – and a good thick felt pen makes the whole experience really cathartic. Just let it flow, then put it into some kind of order (work jobs/house jobs/family jobs etc) and then break them down again into bite sized chunks. So for example, “writing Christmas Cards” (yep I’m still miles off that) can be split into Christmas cards for work colleagues/friends/family etc, each one of which could probably be tackled quite easily. It definitely helps lessen the overwhelm.
3 Delegate, or accept offers of help
Oh this was such a good one yesterday. Our 17 year old son helpfully offered his assistance. Within about 15 minutes he’d put a box of tiles that were too heavy for me into the back of the car to be returned, he’d unloaded the shopping, we’d stripped and re-made a bed, we’d fixed a shelf, he’d put a ladder away, we’d done the recycling and it was AWESOME. The day before he’d taken something to the post office for me. I think that the point of this is that we forget how much we can achieve with a little bit of input from someone else – which means that we often don’t ask. So it’s important that we reach out, ask for help and then delegate. And if help is offered, absolutely say yes!
4 Batch work
This is something that I’m really trying hard to achieve. I honestly believe that multi-tasking is a myth and it’s better to just batch work – as far as time permits. This Christmas, rather than doing bits and bobs of Christmas shopping, I’ve tried to do it in one or two goes. I wanted to lessen the constant stream of parcels being delivered via online orders (other than from small brands) so I went to town once, and stayed there until I’d pretty much finished. I shall aim to do the same with wrapping presents and all of those “extra” jobs that pop up at this time of year.
5 Put your oxygen mask on
There are just some things that we need to prioritise for our sanity. And that’s not indulgent, it’s just about calming the overwhelm and feeling OK about ourselves. So whether that’s keeping up with your yoga, getting your roots, done, getting your moustache and eyebrows taken care of, going to the dump, getting rid of endless piles of paper – whatever it is that matters to you – those things are important. There’s no point in trying to quash them down and pretend that they don’t matter because they do and they will just bug you until they’re done. That doesn’t mean that we have to aim for perfection – just a level of chaos that we can manage to live with
And as a final tip, if you haven’t already…
…book some fun things to do that you can look forward to…because that’s what it’s all about!
Phew, so expect a post from me soon on what to wear on Christmas Day!