The end of the year calls for a hectic schedule. Everyone wants to, or feel like they have to, celebrate with friends, work or family. Sometimes, we look forward to it. Sometimes we don’t. But it’s no secret that December is very busy.
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas or the New Year, I like to say that December is, first and foremost, a time for love, shares and care. I wish people shouldn’t have been taken away from these noble feelings by the consumerism spirit we’ve been infused with for decades.
I find it sad that, most of the time, December and Christmas have become a burden. It’s less free time, more money spent, endless lines in shops to eventually happen to buy something we didn’t really want because what we really wanted in the first place has been out of stock since November.
There’s no need to keep on indulging that uncomfortable feeling. However, it’s hard to be that weirdo who doesn’t buy a present for Christmas: the heartless tight-fisted selfish person.
During those busy and sometimes stressful time, I try to keep and relaxed and mindful mind. Whatever happens, just remind yourself that, in January, all this overwhelming feeling will be long gone. Then, like in any addiction withdrawal scenario, everyone will be down and maybe a tad depressed.
1- Get ready long ahead
Why do you think I’m writing this post when we are not even in November? Because there’s only one big secret to overcome the hectic rhythm of December, and this secret is: start in November! A bit like you can outsource some of your daily tasks, whether at home or for your professional life. So why not outsource December to November?
You can already plan your meal or the trip to your families. You can also go shopping for presents, while they are still in stock! Eventually, don’t hesitate to stock non-perishable, or frozen perishable food, for your meals, including THE big meal.
Just imagine that you already are in December, and start preparing everything right now. You’ll see how more comfortable it is to fill everything you have to do in your December month when it lasts two whole months.
2- Use online services
I’m not a fan of the boxes used when I’m ordering online. But let’s be honest, it’s part of my life, and I’ve learnt to use it the right way. I’ve also learnt that it’s especially true for Christmas preparations. Thanks to the use of online shopping, and other online services, I don’t own a car. So, I guess, this counts for something!
The most important point here is that online services just allow me to have much more free time. I don’t spend hours running from one shop to another to find the right purchase. I’m not waiting in line for hours. And I can get the perfect suitable purchase every time; I’m not compromising anymore. Plus, I can help craftsmen and women from anywhere in the world to build their business. It looks more like “Christmas spirit” to me than buying from a “local” supermarket.
3- Block time for family/self-care time right now
We tend to say yes to far too many invitations, and we end up not being able to spend time with people we love and value the most, including ourselves.
I like to block a few hours in the week which are used to reconnect with myself and my family. I need these hours since I am introverted; but I’ve noticed that even my husband, who definitely is an extrovert, enjoys them too!
Sometimes we are so busy pleasing people who don’t really care for us that we totally forget about the persons that are really important in our lives. There is one reason for that, we all expect our loved ones to understand and accept our distant relationship. They know that we’ll have time for them later.
Let me ask you one question. Do you really think that your loved ones don’t deserve a little quality time during the holidays season? I am not saying that you should only spend time with them, but mindfully allow some few hours during the week during which you can enjoy the holidays’ celebrations together.
4- Enjoy the little things
Focusing on little things in life allows us to refocus on what really matters and helps us get out of the swirling craziness of the world. Holidays are definitely crazy times. So, every day, try to focus on one little thing like a short walk, a warm drink with a loved one, or even a card game with your family.
If you need ideas, I’ve created a “Mindfulness Advent Calendar”. It’s a simple email subscription. It’s free, and it’s for you to enjoy here. You will receive 25 emails in December with one single mindfulness practice invitation. Visit the page “Mindfulness Advent Calendar” to learn more about it. I also want to do my bit for the environment, so I’ve decided to donate to a charity regarding this subscription. It is Trees for the Future. Help me share the love!
5- Stay healthy
This one is obvious and not so obvious. We all already know of the extra food, carbs, sugar, fat or alcohol that we are going to put in our bodies. Well, since I have stopped drinking alcohol and since I am now on a plant-based diet, I am not feeling that burden that much right now. But I know the difference between now, and the time I used to have a more standard diet.
I’m not telling you to stop drinking alcohol or to become vegan to enjoy Christmas properly. What I’m telling you is that your body is going to suffer from the extra food for sure. So, keep in mind that you have to help it work properly. It’s “give and take”, right?
Try to eat strict healthy food during November. My daughter is bringing my husband each year on what we call a “Carismas”. It comes from the mix of the French word for Lent “Carême”, and Christmas. That says a lot on the bilingual situation we have at home, but anyway! They both try to take off sugar and other unhealthy foods and drinks after Halloween until December 1st. It is a kind of winter liver cleanse.
Don’t forget to have fun. If you are already anxious about the holidays season, chances are that you won’t enjoy them at all. What a shame, after all, this time of the year is the spark light during the coldest months (at least for the northern hemisphere). Remember, it’s one-twelfth of a complete year, too much to lose it for stress and resentment!
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