It is November and for some, the holiday season has already begun. Thanksgiving and holiday offers have started arriving in my inbox.
I really love this time of year, but it can be very busy. So I want to remind you to prioritise yourself too this holiday season!
Savour this magical time of year. It doesn’t have to be ALL chaos and overwhelm. You can choose to spend it simply in a way that suits you and your family.
We call the holidays, the festive season, or Christmas – and is a bit different here in SA. We are approaching the end of our school year and heading into our long summer holidays. It is a very festive time of year as well as a time to wrap up projects and launch into summer celebrations. So there is a lot going on! Take a look at our summer sunshine Christmas.
I put together a short guide with a checklist to help you get through your upcoming days more easily – so grab your FREEBIE here. These are the exact systems I use and they have been life-changing. Instead of the shouty school mornings and frazzled evenings of old, I am now able to contain the day more calmly and more joy. My relationships have improved and my sense of self is much more positive.
So whether you live north or south, east or west – here are 5 ways to enjoy a calm, joyful holiday season.
1. Prioritise Yourself this Holiday Season with a Morning Routine
Having a morning routine need not be lengthy or complicated, but taking a few moments to sit in silence before leaping into the day will set you up with a greater chance of handling whatever the day brings.
The festivities of the holidays can be demanding so it is especially important to remember to start your days well. If you are able to prioritise yourself this holiday season and give yourself some of what you need to thrive (or survive), everyone will benefit from your being calmer, less reactive and more joy-filled!
Part of a morning routine should be a glass of water (ideally room temperature with a slice of lemon!). This will set you up with a little detox, a boost of hydration, and even help to stabilise your mood.
Another vital element to a simple morning routine is meditation. No need for complicated styles or postures; the simple act of sitting in silence for a few minutes and focusing on your in-breath and out-breath can ground you, calm you, decrease anxiety, soften your emotions, and lessen any frustration.
The final part of a simple and doable morning routine is to write. Writing has a wonderful way of clearing a frazzled mind. It is an easy way of venting all the stress-induced feels and purging any remaining emotions that do not serve you – sadness, anger, or frustration.
2. Stay Light
In amongst all the planning and preparing and activity, remember to have fun. Prioritise yourself this holiday by doing some of the stuff that makes you smile. Choose joy, call a friend, watch a good movie, try to be light-hearted about life!
Always get outside, every day if you can. It is the simplest mood leveller, the reset, the refresh button. Whether you are getting out into the winter cold or the summer sunshine, wrap up, apply sunscreen and get moving in the fresh air. It is always a good idea.
3 Prioritise Yourself this Holiday Season and Do Less
JUST SAY NO
Sometimes the most empowering way to prioritise yourself is to say no. Be mindful that no thank you is an acceptable reply to invitations and requests that don’t serve your needs.
Further, consider cancelling some of your planned activities to make room for holiday magic to unfold. Just like with work I use a 3 item to-do list, consider having a 3 item weekly activity holiday list, max.
Last year many activities were cancelled due to the pandemic and I found the holidays were less jam-packed and felt more spacious. This year I will be keeping this in mind as I make plans.
LET YOURSELF REST
Give your body and mind a chance to pause. This one precious life can be fun and light.
Decide to make yourself a priority too these holidays. This is especially important if you have children and are the one holding the show together. Care for yourself first because you matter, and also because you will be better able to care for others.
Schedule some phone downtime & be present. Seasonal pun intended.
4 Spend Sensibly
Gifts are wonderful to give and to receive. But be mindful of your spending on them.
Be mindful too of buying because the seasonal messaging says you should. Don’t get into debt buying gifts.
Consider why you feel the need to give expensive gifts, rather than thoughtful homemade, more personal or creative gifts.
Could you find some time to make gifts? Put aside one afternoon to put on some music, turn the phone off and dive into the creative process. Who knows what masterpiece you might create?!
How about agreeing to share an experience in the new year with a loved one, rather than buying things for the sake of it?
What about regifting? It has negative connotations but how about passing on an object your friend has admired with a beautiful card or giving a really great book you no longer need but really enjoyed? Someone else might really value your thoughtfulness.
Whatever your reason for reading this email, perhaps you long for a simpler, lighter life.
Perhaps you are considering starting to declutter your stuff, or already have.
You probably are drawn to the idea that stuff is just stuff and doesn’t come with long term personal fulfilment.
Without wishing to take away from the spirit of the season at all (again, I LOVE the holidays!), consider seeing too many gifts and an overabundance of decorations simply as stuff with no meaning.
Try celebrating with less stuff.
Long ago I wrote a post about what we really want for Christmas which you can read here.
REDUCE YOUR IMPACT
Giving and receiving less stuff means lessening your impact on waste and our Earth.
A STUFF RULE
How about adopting a decluttering rule this season. I am not sure who started this but a well used Minimalist rule is the one in, one out rule. For every item that comes into your home, an item must depart your home. Simple to remember and easy to do, and it helps prevent clutter.
If you are going to donate your excess stuff, try to send it somewhere it is really needed so it doesn’t end up unnecessarily in landfills.
5. Prioritise Yourself this Holiday Season with an Evening Routine
Look back over the day and celebrate any personal or work wins. Identify areas where you should feel proud and areas where you could improve tomorrow.
I have so many friends who can relate when I start speaking of my mission to support women in simplifying their days and focusing on themselves again. We seem to give our energy and time away so freely. We often end up forgetting our needs and interests along the way, and we can never get our time back.
So try to prioritise yourself this holiday season too. When you reflect on a day, see where you did so.
Listing all the things that made your day good is such an easy but mighty habit to get going. All you need to do is list 5 things or more that made your day feel great. There are real, researched benefits to this practice – it boosts energy, reduces stress and even helps you sleep better.
Every evening I like to cast my mind forward and set intentions for the next day. It helps me feel calmer and helps me to focus. I would recommend it in this busy time of year to help reduce feelings of overwhelm.
While setting those intentions, aim to include some good things for you too. You really are worth it.
Live Light and Have Fun
So there are my 5 ideas for having a lighter holiday season. Remember the intention behind the celebrations come from a good place. You can choose how you spend the next 2 months of the year. You can say no, or yes. You can start and end your day well. You can choose to prioritise yourself this holiday season too. It doesn’t have to take anything away from your prioritising your loved ones.
Nothing here is complicated or takes too long in your day, but the benefits can be big. I believe in simplicity and I also believe in creating a good quality of life. Try some of these ideas and see how your holidays unfold.
If you could use a little more guidance, sign up below for some simple systems to set your day rolling gently.
Have a happy start to the holiday season.
And thanks for reading.