Coping strategies for the pre-Christmas stress
I’m writing this blog post about the Christmas mum-rush as I sit on the sofa with a cup of tea, decompressing from my day.
Like most mums, I’m always juggling work, kids and life generally. I often feel like Anneka Rice, racing from one challenge to another.
This becomes more extreme around Christmas.
If you are a mother, you may well feel the same.
I want to say, I feel your throbbing temples, and I empathise.
Christmas is meant to be a magical time of year, but for many of us it can be pretty stressful too, mainly because there just seems to be SO MUCH TO DO in the lead up. And lots of it is so bitty and fiddly!
In the past few weeks Iris (my 4 year old daughter) and I have made Ginger Bread biscuits for my son’s class at record breaking speed, practically throwing them into the oven and burning my finger tips getting them out. In my mind, baking with my kids is so much more relaxing and enjoyable than it is in reality.
I have been back and forth to school many, many times, for concerts and ‘Memorable Events’, with hurriedly wrapped presents for teachers and cards, with some mum-guilt about not doing more for the Winter Fair thrown in for good measure.
I’ve enjoyed complicated childcare logistics. Like handing over my kids to my husband on Platform 3 of Blackfriars Station at 6.45pm, so I can get to a carol concert at St Pauls by 7pm. By running.
I’ve officially been trying to do too many things at once in the kitchen. Both my thumbs bear wounds from grating cheese too quickly.
I spent 15 minutes trying to wrestle an enormous second hand rocking horse into my car boot yesterday.
I have also been teaching. And as a Hypnobirthing teacher, it’s really important that I maintain resilience and manage my energy levels. Otherwise I can’t do my job. So I have to use strategies to help me cope with the Christmas mum-rush.
I’ve written these coping strategies here, because if you recognise some semblance of yourself above, or you have your own stresses to deal with right now, these ideas might help with the pre-Christmas mayhem.
Top tips to help you stay calm and not get too stressed out in the week before Christmas.
Remember to breathe properly! Try it. Wherever you are right now, please take a lovely deep breath in, and a loooong breath out..
If this feels like an unusual thing to be doing, it’s probably a sign that you could be doing it more often.
Granted, breathing deeply isn’t a cure all for everything. But, when you practice conscious breathing whenever you’re faced with a challenging situation, you will find yourself more able to cope and to make choices that feel right for you.
I also like to do YOGA at home with Adriene on Youtube, which combines conscious breath with moving your body and stretching out those tense, worn out muscles. I love her and her dog Benji, and it’s free!
Make a list of everything that’s in your head right now that needs doing. Lists help you feel in control, by getting all those random to do’s out of your head.
It might be alarmingly long, BUT here’s the important bit…
Now look through your list, and instead of trying to do everything and feeling overwhelmed, highlight the 5 things that are most important. Either because they need to be done immediately (e.g. to make the Christmas post) or because they really matter to you. Then do them.
When they’re ticked off the list, celebrate with a mince pie or a massage or a cathartic ripping up of the list. Now you can set about on the next 5 most important things, if you’ve got time and energy.
Just don’t try and do everything at once.
You can also give yourself a break by putting anything that doesn’t need to be done before Christmas on a 2019 to-do list.
3. PRACTICE RELAXING
If you are pregnant, now is the time to make the most of being cosy at home and practicing your relaxations if you’re doing Hypnobirthing.
It’s such a lovely sociable time, but it’s also a time when you can’t have too many early nights!
If you are a mum, treat yourself to my free Guided Meditation for Motherhood.
I’ve made it with love, for you and any mum out there to enjoy 5 minutes of peace and space. To recalibrate, replenish and restore, so you can get back in the ring feeling good.
5. HELLO SOFA
Forget about everything that needs doing and watch a film that’s so bad it’s good, whilst drinking Port and eating cheese and chutney on crackers, and enjoying the warm glow of candles and fairy lights.
If in doubt, this is my go to solution, and it works every time.
And now… to send my Christmas newsletter, hide all that wrapping paper and pick up Iris from nursery!
Wishing you all a very merry, and not too frazzled, Christmas.