Christmas is a wonderful time of year. A magical time of year. But as a mum, it can also be enormously stressful. Caught between making donkey’s ears for nativity plays, buying gifts for one and all, making sure both sides of the family are happy with the amount of time they’re spending with the grandchildren, planning 4 course meals for 20 without breaking the bank and finding new and inventive ways to position the Elf on the Shelf… it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.
The Kensington Mums have put together our list of how we try and maintain a little sanity during the festive season. Do feel free to message us with any of your top tips – we can never have too much advice on the matter!
Make a Plan
Be more Santa – make a list, check it twice. Presents, food, decorations… Don’t leave anything up to chance because you’ll just feel disappointed when things don’t work out the way you had imagined.
And when you’ve made that list, it’s best to head to the shops tout suite! Don’t leave anything until the last minute – the shops will be packed and you may not find what you’re looking for. Major stress source.
Preparation preparation preparation
If there’s any food that you are able to make in advance, do so. It’ll give you more time to be with the family and not exiled in the kitchen.
Health coach, Juliana Ehr from Heal to Glow offers her top tip for the season: “You can easily end up burnt out over the holiday season. For me an important part of staying healthy over the Holidays is saying NO to some invitations. I try to balance the Holiday commitments that mean the most to me with the need to rest.”
You don’t have to be wonderwoman. If there’s just not enough time to make all of the trimmings ask your sister to bring the cranberry sauce and your in-laws to bring the pigs in blankets. No one will judge you if you ask for help.
Take the kids out for a walk
One of the issues with Christmas is that there’s an awful lot of time spent inside together. Take half an hour to go for a walk around the block or to get a pint of milk at the corner shop. It’ll expend a lot of pent-up energy and give everyone a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Have a bath
In the lead-up to Christmas Day, it’s important to carve out some me time. Run yourself a nice hot bath and lock the bathroom door. It’s true that sometimes solo bathing can sometimes be a tricky feat to achieve but ‘alone time’ really is a necessity when you’re juggling 642 different tasks. Make it a bubble bath with a soothing blend like the Lavender Foaming Bath from L’Occitane. Transport yourself from the Christmas madness to the lavender fields of Provence as you engulf yourself in its intoxicating scent and abundant bubbles. Bliss.
If you are feeling anxious, why not try try some breathing exercises. The below is officially sanctified by the NHS as a stress-busting technique:
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t demand that everything is perfect. Allow the kids to make a mess and don’t tidy up immediately. If they have to forgo the evening bath so that you have an extra half an hour to complete your tasks (lest your head explodes) allow it to happen. There’s always tomorrow.
Try to remember that it is a wonderful time of year and that the most important thing is the people around you and that you’re all together. Sometimes you’ll burn the turkey, or you’ll lay too few place settings so someone will have to sit on an upturned box, or your son will immediately break the toy he’s been asking for for the last three months… None of it really matters. Have a wonderful Christmas and try to remember that in the years to come, the children won’t remember what they got for Christmas; they’ll remember the family being around them and the experiences shared.
Feature image by Carnelos Photography