I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like December is just flying by. There is always so many things that needs to be done before one year ends and a new one begins. And then there are all those things we think we need to do, in order to celebrate Christmas properly. It’s easy to get caught up in a constant feeling of stress, making December one of the worst months of the year. When really, December is a perfect opportunity to wind down, spend time with family and friends and simply enjoy life.
Many people will say “It’s not that easy” to stress down. And I know, trust me. I used to feel like taking time off, not stressing about all the things that I needed to do and finding time to hang out with friends was impossible. In my head, I saw only closed doors and a large pile of work that I had to do before any of the doors could open. The pile so large, I had no idea where to start or what to do. And when I started with one thing, a thousand more appeared.
Then Christmas came, no matter how much work I still had in that pile. And I got angry, I felt like the holidays interrupted me and I didn’t have time to stay home and celebrate. I spent the days off in a rush, my breathe fast and shallow and my stomach tied in a knot. When Christmas had passed I rushed back to complete that never ending pile of work so that one day, I could open those doors and be free.
Do you know what I have learned? That those closed doors are really more half-open. If they seem closed, it’s only in my head. And that pile of work isn’t really that big. If I look at it carefully, I can easily sort out more than half of it as things that I, myself, put in there.
Things like, I need to clean the whole house carefully before Christmas eve, we need to make Christmas cookies to fill all the cookie jars (only to throw them away in February because no one eats them). I have to cook all sorts of Christmas food because it’s not Christmas without the fridge full of food (even though we spend Christmas at our parents house and never actually eat at home). I have to decorate the house, buy gifts for all the people that I know, wrap a hundred gifts, go to Christmas concerts and I most definitely need to fix that broken lamp in the hallway that has been unfixed for six months. Because god knows that we can not celebrate Christmas in this house with a broken light in our hallway because who would we be if we did!
When you read it you probably see it. They are silly, these things that we do to ourselves. I can add so much more to that list but I think you get the point. We create that pile of work for ourselves when really, we don’t have to. There are actually not many things that we really need, in order to have a great holiday. I have let go of so many of those crazy must-dos and have-tos so that I can actually enjoy Christmas and be present in every moment.
I choose to spend time with friends more now, because it gives me energy and I wouldn’t want to see life slip away, knowing that I didn’t spend time with the people that I care about.
Never have I had so many things that I could do, having my own business and all. But I am choosing to take time off. I will work hard for a couple of days now and then, relax. All the things on my to-do list can wait until after the holidays.
And the one thing that my son needs to have a great Christmas? Me. Us. Being there. Spending time with him. Nothing more. He really wants nothing more.
An hour out in the woods with this guy can be the greatest adventure. And when we get back home, we’re all tired, happy and calm. Nothing beats that feeling.
Still not sure how to stress down during Christmas? Here’s a few short advice from one easily-stressed soul to another.
1. Go through your pile of work with really critical eyes. Pick out the things that really (REALLY!) has a “must-do-before-christmas” tag on them. And let all the other things be. The only things that qualify as must-dos here are those that will result in harm on people, business or health if they don’t get done. (I.e cleaning the house, completing that pile of paperwork or reading that report your boss left you does not make the list)
2. Focus on doing things that you and your family like and get energy from. Forget what everybody else is doing or what you think that they are doing – do what you want. If that is staying home watching Netflix or being outside grilling hot-dogs, do it.
3. Turn off your phone and ditch social media. There is nothing more stressful during an already stressful time, than seeing other people making beautiful decorations, baking the most delicious cookies, creating fun DIYs or being out on adventures in places you’d only ever dream of. Reality is that everyone is chasing the same thing – happiness. And your happiness starts with being right here and right now. Let yourself be happy.
4. Go outside! If only for an hour or two, but get dressed and go to a forest, a park or whatever is close to you. For me, being out there in real life makes the whole difference. I can breathe again and my mind empties in an instant. And nothing feels as good as coming inside again after a couple of hours out in the cold. ♡