What should be a restful holiday and a time for relaxing with loved ones can quickly turn into a military route march from one family gathering to the next! A diary packed full of social occasions and parties can leave you feeling mentally and physically drained, not to mention your finances! You accept every invite in fear of looking like a spoil sport but are secretly panicking about how you will fit it all in and afford it all.
Sound familiar? Here are my top tips to keep calm and carry on this Christmas without losing your sanity!
Don’t over commit!
“We should definitely get together over Christmas!”
Whilst we all want to spend time with our nearest and dearest and have a knees up with our friends, it can become a logistical nightmare trying to squeeze in seeing everybody. Many of us only have a handful of days off and there might be your parents, your other half’s parents, close family, extended family, your school friends, uni friends, best friends and work friends all wanting to see you (which is lovely of course!)
My top tip here is don’t over commit. It is OK to say no! Don’t forget most people are in a similar position here and good friends will understand if you are already booked up with seeing family between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Why not arrange a get together in the New Year? That way you’ve got something to look forward to when the holidays are over and the January blues are liable to hit.
Make sure when you are planning your time you think realistically about how many visits or outings you can fit in and DON’T forget to leave a day just for you to relax and have some down time. It’s taken me a long while to realise this and sometimes I still struggle with it but just because you have a free day doesn’t mean you have to be doing something or you should say yes to an invitation. Not saying no because you feel guilty can leave you feeling more exhausted when you go back to work in January than you did when you left the office in December. It’s OK to take a break from people pleasing and have a day for you to do what you want to do.
Don’t over spend!
Money – one of the greatest stresses, especially at such an expensive time of the year. I’m not just talking the obvious here with present buying, I’m talking all those offers of nights out and obligations to hold various get togethers at your place. The weekly food shop bill has suddenly doubled because so and so is coming Friday and then so and so on Saturday.
‘I can’t afford it’ always seems to sound like a poor excuse and of course it can feel embarrassing to admit. Let me tell you there is nothing to be embarrassed about here and seeing your family and friends shouldn’t have to be pricey. You can still treat them! Being self-employed means when I take time off over Christmas, I don’t get paid. I can really sympathise with anyone who feels the pinch in December.
My tip here is to always be honest and open with family and friends. Always offer a cheaper alternative for present buying or meeting up. Set a budget for gifts, do secret santa, just buy for children or suggest a meal out or doing something instead of present buying. Celebrating Christmas with your girlfriends shouldn’t have to mean buying a new outfit and going to that really over-priced cocktail bar. Suggest a night in where everybody brings some food and drink to share the cost. You don’t want to start the New Year stressed about paying off Christmas debt. Of course, you should treat your family but it doesn’t mean buying them EVERYTHING they ever wanted. Keep to your budget as best you can.
Don’t over relax!
OK, so you had probably guessed that there was no way I was going to do a blog post without mentioning the e-word…exercise!
I’m not saying you should head off to the gym the day after Boxing Day. My classes certainly won’t be running between Christmas and New Year! But what I am saying is vegging out and sitting around in the house for the whole Christmas break will make you feel tired, irritable, sluggish and bored. We all know being cooped up with family for too long might lead to some very violent games of Monopoly!
Take a break and go out and get some fresh air. A festive walk will do you a world of good. Whatever you do just get moving. Your mood and your waist line will thank you for it.
The same goes for over eating and over drinking every single day of the holidays. Give your liver a rest and tone down the snacking on chocolates for at least one day. Feeling bloated and hung-over is allowed at Christmas but let it happen every day and you will probably end up in a lousy mood. Make the most of your time off and don’t waste it all in front of the TV!