That well-known carol, ‘12 days of Christmas’ sees ladies dancing, lords a-leaping, even maids a-milking…all in the run up to Christmas Day. We’re exhausted just hearing about it! For most of us, Christmas is a time where we are ready to down tools and switch off for a few days.
Though no one would blame you if you wanted to spend the next week in your pyjamas, drinking bucks fizz and making your way through a tin of roses, sadly this is unlikely to be the case. With presents to wrap, family to visit or a turkey dinner to prep, Christmas is usually more chaotic than calm.
Bearing this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of 12 ways that you can really enjoy this festive season and everything that comes along with it, whether you’ve got a long, leisurely break or just a day or two either side.
1. Give yourself a break
If you run your own business you can never truly switch off, even during the holidays. You’ll feel a certain pressure to keep the business running for as long as possible – it’s your livelihood after all. However, the chances are you’ve been working hard all year and now’s the time to give yourself a well-earned rest.
It might feel scary to ‘close’ for a few days but you will thank yourself for it. You need to rejuvenate and evaluate what you’ve achieved this year. This way, you’ll return to worked energised and ready to take on 2017 with gusto.
Depending on what type of business you run, you might be required to check emails or voicemails periodically. If this is the case, try to set some time aside rather than constantly checking your phone throughout the day. Make sure you have an out of office message on, update your voicemail to let people know service may be running slower than usual and leave a mobile number for people to call in an emergency.
The main thing is not to be attached to your phone and neglectful of those around you that really matter. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about.
2. Be organised
With gifts to wrap, family to visit and food to cook you’ll be busier than ever. Try to alleviate some of the stress by being super organised. Write lists, set reminders and make an itinerary; it’s not over-the-top if it’s going to help you feel more prepared! If you can, call on others to help you too. Are you hosting Christmas dinner? Ask a guest to bring the desert or some wine. Do you have someone else at home who can help you with the wrapping? Ask them. Don’t feel like you need to do it all alone.
Think about who and what is most important to you this time of year and try to prioritise where possible. Though it would be lovely to be in five places at once, there is only one of you. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you and who make you feel good.
Make plans in the New Year to see the people that you missed. Chances are, they’re going through the same thing as you and will be grateful to reschedule.
4. Be generous with the time that you do have
Whether you’re religious or not, Christmas has become symbolic as a time for giving to others. This doesn’t mean buying into the consumerism or greed or spending money that you don’t have to win the affection of your friends and family. This is about giving your time to others. Cherish the ones that you’re with, listen to them when they speak to you and enjoy their company. Let’s go back to basics this Christmas.
5. Be grateful
Try to show your family and friends how much they mean to you by being truly grateful for them this Christmas. Tell them how they make you feel, how they enhance your life or have shaped you into the person you are today. Sometimes a kind word can be the greatest gift, especially when it’s sincere. It may sound a little fluffy, but you’l be amazed how far a touch of meaningful sentiment goes.
6. Live in the present
There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy yourself, but not being able to because your mind is on other things. Even if it’s just for one day, try to really live in the present. Put your phone down, stop worrying about what other people are doing and stop thinking about jobs you’ve got to jump on when you’re back in the office.
Look around, take in your environment, watch a movie and really WATCH it and don’t just dip in and out between Facebook breaks. Practice being mindful for your own benefit and watch as it has a knock-on effect to those around you.
Ok, budgeting might be a big ask this time of year. Gifts aside though, try not to spend on unnecessary luxuries. Chances are, you’ve been stocking up on the Christmas goodies for a few weeks now, there’s no need to keep buying each time you walk into the supermarket.
As many of us get paid early in December, January becomes an incredibly long month. If you have a family and bills to pay, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you are struggling to make ends meet the end of the month, just for that extra tube of Pringles (even if they are flavoured like pigs in blankets).
8. Drink less alcohol
“Boooo!” we hear you cry. Yes, it’s Christmas and for many of us, alcohol becomes a staple in our diets. Before you dive into that bottle of bucks fizz without a second thought, just consider some of the after effects.
Alcohol is incredibly dehydrating, especially when combined with all those salty Christmas snacks it’s a recipe for disaster. We all know it’s important to stay hydrated – it helps us to concentrate, improves our energy levels and our digestion. All important issues when you’re playing board games and eating 5,000 calories in one sitting. So, if you want to be on the wining trivial pursuit team and not sleeping off a food baby instead, try to stick to water or at least alternate a glass of water between alcoholic drinks.
9. Do things that you enjoy
Play video games, watch a movie, get out in the fresh air if that’s what you want. You’ve got to find time to do the things that you enjoy. Otherwise, what’s it all for? If you work all week to afford to live — then you need to make some time to do some actual living.
Sure, you feel sluggish, bloated, tired and you’ve got no time. But did you know that exercising for just 30 minutes a day could make you feel so much better? Exercise releases endorphins which can improve your mood for up to 12 hours. 30 minutes seems a small price to pay if you ask us.
Sleep is vital for our bodies to rejuvenate, repair and store memories. If you are sleep deprived, it is a good opportunity over the holidays to catch up on a little extra shut eye. The best sleep habits however, are consistent with adults getting between 7-9 hours per night. If you usually have a sleep routine, try to keep to it as much as possible during the break.
If you can’t get as much sleep as usual, or you want to catch up on some more, then there are ways to make sure the sleep you DO get is a good quality. Try to sleep in an environment that is cool, dark and noise free. Don’t go to bed too hungry or too stuffed as this discomfort will keep you awake. Where possible, (though it’s tempting) try not to nap during the day. This will disrupt your night time routine and leave you more tired the next day. If you wake up tired, then you’ll be tempted to nap again and the cycle will continue.
12. Try to keep some routine
Christmas is a very social time and diaries get filled up quickly with parties, nights in the pub and lunches out. It can be easy to stress about where you’re going to be on what day.
If you can, on the days where you’re not socialising, try to switch back into your normal routine. Go to bed at the same time you normally would and try to eat the same diet you normally would. Even if it’s just for a day, this will help give you back some control amidst the madness!
Remember, Christmas only comes once a year, so eat drink and be merry for it will soon be over.
From all of us at Windsor, we hope you have a great one. See you on the other side.