11 Tips For Keeping Your Sanity At Christmas

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Bullet journaling is my secret weapon to staying organised. If you don’t know what a Bullet journal is read this post ‘Why you NEED a bullet journal’

I don’t know about you but Christmas can be stressful for me. I hold myself up to a very high standard when it comes to the silly season and then add all the events that happen and you have potential disaster. The goal I have for this post is to share with you my coping techniques and tips (and some from others I’ve asked, you know who you are ladies) so your mental health makes it through the season relatively unscathed.

Tips

1 The first piece of advise that I would give is to stop trying to make the holiday season perfect in every way. You are stressing yourself and and not enjoying it. You won’t get to enjoy the holidays if your trying to make it live up to some imaginary standard. It can actually make your mental health worse if the season isn’t meeting your expectations. Just enjoy it while its here and don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. If you are in therapy and find the holidays to be harder than the rest of the year. It may be helpful to meet with your therapist more over this time. I know that the holidays bring up issues for me and it’s very helpful having someone impartial to talk to you. You should also think about letting your friends and family know that your mental health may be fragile at this time of year so that they can support you. They love you and it can really help for them to know about your struggles, so they can help you. If all else fails make sure you have the phone number of a crisis helpline!

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3 It’s very important during the holiday season, to not over-commit yourself. You know your own limits and if a party everyday for a week is a bit much then don’t do it. If you have to do it have an escape plan when it becomes too much, Deb from a group I’m in, suggested an escape plan, I’ve never had one and just end up coming up with some lame excuse. Not anymore, I will have escape plans from now on.

4 Remember to take time for yourself to build your mental health back up. In fact commit yourself to giving yourself some “me time” regularly. For me I need an hour everyday to recharge plus any crisis time that may be needed. The best way I think to get your time is schedule time in your day to recharge. Actually put it into your bullet journal daily log and consider it a non-negotiable. My bullet journal daily log looks like the picture below during the Christmas period. I schedule “me time” first then everything else.

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5 Once you know what you are committed to during the holiday period develop a plan around your normal routine. Routine is vital when it comes to your mental health so keeping your days as close to normal as possible is best. But if routine can’t be kept, it can really help to relive stress by having the holiday period planned out before hand. With non-negotiable me time scheduled in.

6 Speaking of commitments, if you have kids, it might be hard to get some “me time”. So I have an agreement that we do one thing a day, like go to the park or crafting, and then they need to give me some time to myself. It usual works but you just have to figure out what you can and can’t do and communicate it to them. Good Luck with that.

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7 With your “me time” it may be helpful to practise gratitude. Find some things you can be grateful for to write in your bullet journal as it can help you to gain some perspective on whatever is going on in your life. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Alternatively you could do some journaling using journaling prompts, I have a collection of them in my pinterest board “Journaling Prompts“. I find them useful to draw answers or feelings out. This pin of journaling prompts is my favourite at the moment. There is also a lot to be said about a brain dump into your bullet journal or better yet to a friend or your counsellor. Brain dumps allow you to get everything out of you head and then you can go back and process it later. I find them cathartic to just be able to blurt it all out on to paper, out of my head and then read over it. You may be suprised what you find.

8 I have in my bullet journal two collections that help me out when my mental health is low during the holiday season. The first one is a collection of inspiring quotes that I can read over to pick my mood up. The second is a list of favourite songs that I can put on. I find both of these collections get a work out during the holiday. I really find listening to music helps my mood. Other collections that could be helpful are, a list of things that make you happy, a list of things you love about yourself and a list of affirmations.

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9 During this hectic period it is easy to let habits go, but it is vital to your mental health that you keep up with your mental and physical health routines. Tracking your routines will help you with this. Having a visual reminder in your bullet journal that you want to keep checked off, if your anything like me, is a good way to keep up your routines. For me I track doing some sort of exercise every other day, drinking 2 litres of water and getting 8 hours of sleep these are my daily non-negotiables that keep my baseline health level.

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10 A big cause of Christmas stress can be your holiday finances or lack of it sometimes. When we start writing down everything we have to buy for the holiday season, and you haven’t planned all year for it, there is going to be some money concerns. I feel that for me this links into trying to have Christmas perfect, so I have to buy all this stuff. I really struggle with this and even struggle typing this out. So maybe don’t buy extravagant presents for everyone, just buy for the kids and tell everyone else just to buy for the kids (so they don’t give you anything and you feel bad you didn’t get them something). We are adults and don’t believe in Santa so make it great (within reason) for the kids. Anyhow thats my 2 cents on holiday budgets. So now you have an excuse to make a Christmas budget collection in your Bullet journal.

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11 While we are talking about money stresses lets talk about all the food that’s eaten at Christmas time. Somebody has to pay for it so a couple of suggestions on this topic.

  • If your hosting Christmas dinner plan it as far as possible in advance so that you can check some things off the dinner to do list before the big day.
  • Buy non-perishables throughout the year- I know its a lot of forward thinking but it will help you budget at Christmas time.
  • Make meals ahead and freeze – I’m not saying cook your turkey or ham early but things like mashed potatoes and desserts can freeze well and it will really save you time.
  • This may be a given in your house, if you have people over for Christmas dinner get them to bring a dish of something. Not only does it mean you don’t have to buy the dish but you don’t have to make it either.

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So that’s it for my tips. Just try to remember the goal is to enjoy the holiday season, or at least get through it. I hope that you have taken something of use from this article and feel free to email me at [email protected] or comment on the post. Lee:)

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