You made it to Christmas Eve and quite frankly if you are anything like me it was a sprint to the end, rather than a wonderfully relaxed jaunt. However, how you got to this point is not important, the fact is that you made it here.
Do you have lists and lists for your lists to make it through the festive period? Are you spending more time on the motorway than actually with your loved ones? Are family relationships strained? Or have your got your Christmas and New Years tied up with a bow of loveliness that will make us all look at your in awe?
Where ever you are or what ever your plans are, there are some things that you can do to keep everyone sane this Festive period.
The way of the Festive Season seems to be everyone runs around schedules and days packed and you end up starting 2019 exhausted. Everyone needs to switch off, read a book, watch tv, spend some time away from others. Are you able to carve out time when you are not on the go, not running to a schedule? Your family wants your presence, perhaps a time to snuggle on the sofa with a festive film? What can you do to build in some down time before 2019 strikes?
Christmas does not mean that you are a slave to your family. Life goes on and jobs need to be done. Who can wash up? Who can lay the table? Who can put a wash on? Who can sweep? All children and adults can and should be involved, sometimes they just need to be asked. If delegation is a dirty word in your family, perhaps 2019 is the year to change this.
What does self care mean to you? The chances of escaping over the festive period for a spa day are unlikely, but what aspects of this could you bring to your day. Can you do a face mask while cooking the roast? For me, self care comes in many different ways, from going on a dog walk, changing the bed sheets, to having a hot shower. How can you bring self care for you and your loved ones to the festive madness?
Everyone is going to want to be on their phones, game consoles, gadgets especially if a new ‘screen’ is part of their gifts. However, so arguments do not ensue or misunderstandings of expectations arise, can you chat through what is a good use of screens ahead of time? Are you going to have a screen cut off each night, where all gadgets need to be handed over, adults included? Problems often arise when we feel controlled, so getting your children’s voice or thoughts towards a solution are so important.
Drag your family off the sofa and get outside, you will all feel better for it. Park, wood, river or by the sea, it really does not matter, let the children experience the freedom of playing outside, collecting sticks, building a sand castle, jumping in puddles or riding their bikes. Our job is to be more present, be more mindful, and make memories with our kids and being outside helps with this with very little input from you.
I asked my daughter what we got her as a gift last Christmas, what Santa got her, she could not remember. All those hours I put into the perfect gift, the most wonderful wrapping, not wasted but certainly forgotten. What she does remember though is having the family over for a meal, when we played played board games, baked together, our Advent traditions and doing her school carol concert. These are the things that filled her memory bank, not the perfect roast turkey. What would your kids say if you asked them a similar question?
More than anything this Christmas I encourage you to be more present, to forget perfection, after all aren’t we all better off being perfectly imperfect.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, here is to us all coming out the other end, happy and with our sanity intact!
We’d like to thank Anisa Lewis – The Positive Parenting Coach for her contribution to our Mental Monday’s Series.