At this time of year, things can become really stressful. There’s the present shopping that always seems to be Mum’s Job no matter how many other capable people there are in the house.
Then there is the food preparation, winding up work for the Christmas break, wrapping gifts, attending Christmas functions and parties, preparing the house for visitors or the family for a trip to visit relatives… the list can seem endless and it’s easy to get so caught up in all the preparations we end up run down and fed up by the time January 2nd rolls around and we’re all back to business as usual.
Here are our top five tips for staying “scentered” this holiday season:
1. Remember the true meaning of Christmas
This doesn’t mean going to church, unless church is your thing of course. We’ve all seen photos on social media of Christmas trees half obscured by presents, and we’ve all had days over Christmas where we’ve ended up letting our belts out a notch or two. That’s all well and good, but it’s not really the spirit of Christmas and all this gluttony and consumerism can leave us feeling a little empty.
We’re not saying you should ditch the gifts and live off salad for the next two weeks, but do try to embrace the idea of “moments not things” this festive season. Spending time with family, sharing with those in need, coming together to spend time with friends will all make you feel better than even the biggest gift under the tree or the most expensive, organic, free range turkey.
If you have small children this can set the tone for years to come. When you look back it won’t be the brightly coloured, expensive plastic you bought that sticks in either of your memories; it will be the feeling of perhaps catching a glimpse of Father Christmas, or the time spent doing a jigsaw together. When we live hectic lives it’s important to take that time out to reconnect with our family and friends whenever we can. Christmas is probably the one time of year that most people are off work for at least a few days, and we’re able to spend time together.
2. Make use of aromatherapy
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed aromatherapy can really help. Our Stress Less Balm is a great way of just taking a moment out for yourself when you don’t have time to decompress properly.
If you’ve a little longer, try lighting an aromatherapy candle and relaxing a little. Just the ritual of lighting a candle and having it burning in the room can make things feel a bit more luxurious - even if it’s burning in a room while you’re in the middle of a present wrapping frenzy.
3. Accept offers of help
You’ll often find that people want to help at this time of year, and making Christmas dinner a group effort can make the experience more fun and memorable for all concerned. So often people ask if they can help and we wave them off saying, “oh no, really it’s fine.” But there really is no medal for Christmas martyrdom; it just makes you stressed and fed up.
Why not ask people who are coming to do their bit by bringing a side dish or pudding. And delegate the washing up to whoever wasn’t in the kitchen helping with the cooking. Nobody will judge you for not doing everything yourself, and it won’t make you weak. It will make the cooking more of a group effort that you’ll all appreciate.
4. Plan ahead
If you’re hoping to visit with your extended family this Christmas, plan ahead to decide who you will see on which day. If you’re not particularly confident with cooking to feed the five thousand on Christmas day, sit down with a pen and paper and plan out exactly what needs to be done and when. It might seem excessively uptight or fastidious to plan ahead like this, but for many of us having a plan helps to take the pressure off.
Often if you’ve put it down on paper your brain can stop worrying about it at every available moment, and focus on everything else you need to do. This will help you to feel more in control of what’s going on, and to be present rather than constantly distracted as we are all wont to be at this time of year.
5. Remember that everything doesn’t need to be crammed into one day!
Christmas day can be fun and magical, especially if you have small children. But there is no law that you must see every relative, feed fifty people and open every single present in that twenty-four hour period. Give yourself a bit of leeway to spread the fun over a few days, and you might find that the stress dissipates, making more room for you to actually enjoy what’s going on around you.
Lots of families actually opt to have their main Christmas dinner on Boxing Day, instead having a cold buffet on Christmas day; others will arrange to visit with extended family to exchange presents in the days after Christmas. As well as taking the pressure off on the big day, this allows you to extend your Christmas over a few days so that you can really enjoy the moments with loved ones.
This year we have an extra bank holiday on Tuesday 27th too so there’s all the more reason to stretch things out. This can be especially rewarding if you have small children who can often be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of gifts and visitors on one day.
Christmas is the time of “goodwill to all men” but it can also be incredibly stressful for those of us in charge of the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking and the entertaining. However you’re spending your Christmas, we hope you’ll be able to take some time out for yourself to get “scentered” and stop, inhale and reset this festive season.