It’s just under five weeks to Christmas. I wonder if you’ve heard anyone recently say something like;
“things used to slow down leading into Christmas, this year they are just speeding up”
I hear (and say) this all the time.
Somewhere in my consciousness I still recall that delicious sense of anticipation throughout the long, long wait from December 1 to 25.
However, as I scanned my memory I realised that I was actually six years old. And Santa takes a bloody long time to turn up.
The reality of Christmas as an adult is that we know things are going to slow down at some point. People will go on holidays and ultimately imbibe enough of their chosen incarnation of Christmas spirit to stop, focus on their loved ones and maybe even consider taking stock of their life, well, until January 2 anyway.
Until that moment it’s as if we must cram in as much as we possibly can, squeezing the life out of the last few days before the annual day of stopping is upon us, all the while making mental plans to make it the ‘Best Christmas Ever’, or at least a day that isn’t as shit as last year’s was.
Is it any wonder by the time it gets to December 25 we fall over in an exhausted, pickled, heap with contempt firmly planted in the place where cheer once was?
If the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy isn’t enough to drive you into a state of panic, those with kids will be familiar with the long, long end of year award ceremonies and Christmas concerts which are punctuated, as if by some cruel twist of fate with SIX WEEKS of school holiday “bliss”.
Add Christmas parties, drinks with friends, drinks at the work parties, drinks with clients, drinks with anyone that suggests a drink (the mailman has been good to you this year right)? Is it little wonder you are feeling tired and cynical? Is that just me?
The frenzy doesn’t stop until approximately 835pm on 24 December. Don’t believe me? Hang around a grocery store on Christmas eve, you’d think the zombies were coming and it was our last chance to emulate the doomsdayers we’d made fun of earlier in the year.
But wait… it’s still November.
Time to plan for something different this year.
As I hurtle towards Christmas this year I’ve made a decision.
I’m going in slowly.
Here are few strategies I’ve applied this year…
- Decided to not feel guilty about slowing down. Quite frankly if I did nothing else, this would be the best thing I could do right now.
- Understood and acknowledged there is always more that I could do, but it’s going to be a bit hard to do it if I’m bat shit crazy because I didn’t take time to slow down.
- Started taking lunch breaks – yeah, I know that should happen all of the time but let’s get real, it doesn’t.
- Challenged myself to share pictures on social media of myself having lunch breaks – because telling people I’m slowing down makes me feel really uncomfortable.
- Joined a couple of friends in an online group where we check in with each other every evening to make sure we are making at least some healthy choices through the day.
- Ensured there is more healthy food and exercise in my everyday day.
- Taken some time to acknowledge my organisation’s achievements throughout the year that’s been.
- Created a 2018 plan with my exec. team which will meet all of our required outcomes and take the organisation to where we want it to go in the year ahead.
- Turned my focus to the kids and started to get the annual appointments and check ups out of the way so they don’t clog up the holiday break.
- Said no more often.
- Added an element of fun to the things I’d like to say no to but can’t get around.
- Started making appointments for 2018, rather than trying to cram them into the remainder of this year.
- Gained a sense of clarity about what really does need to be done before the year ends, and developed a sense of peace about what would be great to do, but isn’t going to happen.
- Chosen a couple of fun things to do to celebrate the season, and chosen to do things to build my energy levels at other times.
Despite my clear cynicism of the Christmas thing, I must say this is the first time I’ve really looked forward to Christmas in years. My plan is to utilise it as a time of renewal, connection and reflection making 2018 all the better.
Happy pre-Christmas to you, may it be a slow, nourishing and enjoyable one.