FOUR more sleeps, that is all, until Christmas 2016 is upon us, and whilst it can be a magical time, the run up to Christmas can also be an extremely stressful time. Over spending on expensive presents, the last minute shopping, making sure your house is fit for the avalanche of guests, family gatherings, present wrapping, late night food shopping, lists, food preparation, high expectations, Christmas parties, Christmas concerts, work stress, entertaining small children....phew, by the time you are ready for some 'down time' your stress and anxiety levels are through the roof. And that's on top of your plate spinning day job(s).
If you had to describe how you are feeling about Christmas in just 5 words how would you describe it?
With just 4 sleeps to go, here are some Christmas survival tips on how to ensure your stress levels reduce over the festive period...
Give your expectations a reality check
Christmas does not have to be perfect. So what if your house isn't spotless, or if you burn the parsnips, or if everything doesn't go to plan, or if the kids bicker. What really matters at Christmas is that you and your family get to relax, connect and enjoy spending some quality time together. Have a think about what's really important to you and be realistic in your expectations. If you expect 'perfection' you are always going to be disappointed and feel like you've failed.
Don't try and be the hostess with the mostest
Rather than taking on the role of doing EVERYTHING for everyone, enlist some help and delegate on Christmas Day. Christmas is about family time, so get everyone involved in helping to prepare for the day. You are allowed to relax and enjoy Christmas too!
If there's one day in the entire year where there should be a digital detox in your house it's Christmas Day. It's a day to connect with each other, be present, enjoy a meal together, play board games, watch TV, go for a post dinner walk - not a day to be distracted by social media.
Have some 'time off'
If you have booked some time off from work, or your partner is off to help share the load, make sure you use that time to relax. Catch up on sleep, get some fresh air in your lungs, turn off your devices, spend some 1:1 time with the kids and your loved one - relax and take some time out for you. Sleep is often the thing that gets neglected over Christmas, but it's the one thing that our bodies need to repair after a period of sustained stress. Afternoon naps aren't just for Nana's you know.
Ditch the busy schedule
Little people (and big people) don't need a round the clock schedule of activities and things to do over Christmas. They need time out, just like you. Use the time you have to enjoy a family walk, watch a cheesy family movie, play games, have a duvet day, cuddles and spend time with the family.
Watch the alcohol intake
It's easy over the festive period to drink excessively without really realising it. Drinking to excess will leave you feeling lethargic, dehydrated and grouchy. Not the best combination, especially if you have little people in your life. Make sure you keep hydrated and give your body a rest.
Catherine Asta Labbett, is the founder and owner of Yorkshire based 'Bringing Sparkle Back' delivering Psychotherapy, Relationship and Life Coaching exclusively for women.